Originally written October 24, 2011 on The Recliner GM:
For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page Longevity – 5 Bender pitched 14 seasons in Philadelphia, 12 for the A’s and 2 for the Phillies. His 2,837.2 IP over that time frame is bested city-wide only by Eddie Plank, Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts. Peak – 3 Bender was really, really good for a really, really long time, but he was never the best. He was top-10 in WAR for pitchers seven times, and top-5 three times. He very rarely led the league in any category, but was almost always present in the top 5 or 10. Popularity – 1 How many of you have HEARD of Chief Bender. Team Success – 5 Bender was with the A’s for over 1,000 wins. They went 1,065-723 during his tenure and won 3 World Series (1910, 1911, 1913). In those 3 World Series, Bender was sparkling. He pitched 62.2 IP (almost 21 innings per series), won 5 games,  allowed only 15 runs (2.15 ERA) and had a 0.97 WHIP. He also allowed only 2 runs and 9 hits in 17 IP (1.06 ERA) in the 1903 World Series at age 21. He actually brought some good luck to the lowly Phillies as well, as the team went 178-127 during his two-year tenure. Awards – 3 Might have won a Cy Young since he had some great W-L records, and would likely have been voted to many all-star games. Stats – 4 Here are Bender’s career numbers with the A’s and Phillies: 2,837.2 IP, 208-111, 2.35 ERA, 1,622 K, 1.10 WHIP. His Philadelphia A’s ranks are as follows: 2nd in IP, CG and WHIP, 3rd in W, ERA, Sv and K. Historical Standing – 3 Bender is a Hall-of-Famer, but his greatest contribution to baseball might be the “nickel curve,” or as it is now called, a slider. As long ago as it was, there will obviously be many people credited with the invention of a pitch, but Bender’s name tends to come up the most in terms of the slider. Excitement -3 His nickle curve probably made him something different to watch on the mound, but his game was mostly predicated on control (career 2.1 BB/9). One of the pitchers that shows up in his comps on Baseball Reference is Robin Roberts, which should give you some idea of what kind of pitcher he was. Total: 27 One thing not noted here is that Bender played his entire career being discriminated against for being a Native American. “Chief” is really the only name he is known by, but was more a hateful nickname than a friendly one. It’s unfortunate, because “Chief Bender” is just a fantastic name for a pitcher. For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

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