Not one but two major league baseball pitchers, both hurling for the Philadelphia Athletics and recording no-hitters during the same era, is a record yet unmatched in Minnesota annals which can be claimed for native borns by Brainerd.
Leslie Ambrose (Bullet Joe) Bush, born in Brainerd, Nov. 27, 1892, hurled his no-hitter, winning 5-0, against the Cleveland Indians Aug. 26, 1916. The 5-11, 175-pound righthander played professional baseball from 1912,through 1931, managing Allentown, Pa. in the Eastern league in his wind up (1930-31). His major league record reads 195 wins, 180 losses.
Charles Albert (Chief) Bender, who died May 22, 1954 at Philadelphia, was born at Brainerd May 5, 1884 of Indian parentage. The 6-2, 185-pound righthander tossed his no-hitter, also against Cleveland, May 12, 1910 at Philadelphia, winning 4-0. He came up with a second no-hit game while hurling for New Haven in the Eastern league, defeating Bridgeport 3-0 Aug. 19, 1920. Bender's major league record reads 208 wins, 112 losses.
Bush took part in 54 games for Missoula, Mont. in the Union league in 1912, winning 29 and losing 12 games and was signed by the Athletics before the American league season was over, pitching eight innings to no decision.
The following season he was 14-6 in 202 innings and followed with 16-12, 6-14, 15-22, 11-17 records with the A's before being traded to the Boston Red Sox Dec. 20, 1917. He was 15-15 in both 1918 and 1920 for the Bo-sox, had no record in nine innings in 1919 and was 16-9 in 1921 when he was traded to the New York Yankees in December and was 26-7, 19-15 and 17-16 in three seasons with the Bombers, hurling in two straight World Series for them (1922 and 1923) when he won one and lost three.
THE 1904 BASEBALL team braved studio floodlights to pose for this photo. Included among its personnel was former Brainerd chief of police, Tom Templeton (second from left, back row). Pictured (left to right) in front row are Pat and Jim Boyle, Bud Roderick, mascot Werner Hemstead, Bill Mattson, Ed Boyle; back row, unidentified team manager, Templeton, Jack Boyle, Baldy Murphy, Ed McLeary, Chris Senti.<
He was 1-1 in World Series appearances with the Athletics in 1913-14 and 0-1 with Boston in 1918.
The Yankees swapped him to the St. Louis Browns Dec. 17, 1924 and he finished 14-14 in 33 appearances for that team in 1925 before going to the Washington Senators in February, 1926. Only 1-8 with the Nats, he was unconditionally released June 24, 1926 and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National league.
Bush's American league record was 187 wins, 171 losses and his overall ERA 3.46 with 1,271 strike outs and 1,217 waIks, 2,866 hits and 1,136 earned runs. He played in 19 games for the 1926 Pirates, finishing 6-6 and was 2-3 with them the following season before being unconditionally released and joining the New York Giants. He ended 2-3 for that season and after dropping to Toledo of the American Assn. before the 1927 campaign was completed, returned to the Athletics for a 2-1 record in 1928. In 1929, he played 27 games in the out-field for Portland of the Pacific Coast league and then caught on with Newark of the International league where he was 3-3 on the mound.
In his two seasons of managing Allentown, he pitched only eight innings each campaign and managed a lone win against no losses.
Married to Alice Marie Wray Nov. 6, 1937, he was the son of an N. P. conductor here and the uncle of Mrs. Cal Nygaard, a longtime resident of Baxter. Bush returned for a visit here in 1954.
A brother, Edward, resides at Walker and another, Richard, at Fargo. The Bushs are related to the Van Essens and DeRochers of Brainerd.
Bush, at the time he played with Philadeiphia, was the youngest pitcher ever drafted by a big league club and retained; the youngest pitcher ever to participate in a World Series; and the youngest pitcher ever to win a World Series game.
Bush was 18 days short or his 21st birthday when he pitched for Connie Mack's Athletics and defeated the N. Y. Giants in the World Series of 1913. Modern broadcasters referred to Baltimore's Jim Palmer as the youngest when he pitched against and beat Sandy Koufax in the 1966 World Series, winning 6-0. Palmer then was nine days short of his 18th birthday.
In 1924, Oct. 14, to be exact, Brainerd fans turned out 3,000 strong at the Brainerd Athletic park to honor their native son in an exhibition game between the St. Louis American league club and Brainerd's amateur club.
The Brainerd Daily Dispatch headlined the result: "St. Louis 7, Brainerd 2 in Fast Game" with these interesting subtitles, "Brainerd's Own Select Down in Glorious Defeat;" "Brainerd Presented An All-Home Talent Team, Excepting 2 Pitchers;" and "Management Deserves Commendation for Not Loading Up with Outsiders."
The Iead paragraph of the story noted, "Brainerd's Own Select went down to glorious defeat yesterday at the hands of the St. Louis Browns Barnstormers, by a score of 7 to 2."
The three thousand fans who crowded the field expecting to see Bush hurl for Brainerd were disappointed in the failure of their hero to appear, but were repaid to some extend by the fast work of the Browns in the field.
"Jones was on the mound for Brainerd in the first two innings, throwing good ball, but having hard luck... The work of Wingard, thrower for the Browns, was pretty to see. He is a port-sider with a beautiful delivery... For Brainerd, Peterson did nice work, both at shortstop and at third. He handed all his chances without a skip. Ringer and Ziebell, pinch-hitting in the eighth, hit a double and single, respectively, and brought in Brainerd's only runs. In all 15 local stars participated."
They came up with six hits. Brainerd's roster included McAlpine in left field, Swedie Erickson at second base, Uddenberg in centerfield, Ted Stallman third base, Les Peterson shortstop, Norman catcher, Louis Hanson first base, Bollens in right field with Lefty Jones, Sig Sheflo, Harold Ringer, Thorkildson, Dillan, Schwendeman, Rich gush (a brother of Bullet Joe's) and Steinfeldt the utilitymen.
The St. Louis roster listed George Sisler at first base, LaMotte shortstop, McManus second base, Robertson third, Tobin right field, Bennett and Williams left and Jacobson center. Dixon catcher and Wingard, Van Gilder, Gaston and Girard pitchers.
Bender pitched for the Athletics from 1903 through 1914, then retired to work in the shipyards in 1918 after a 4-16 record for Baltimore of the Federal league and two seasons with the Philadelphia National league team. He joined Richmond, Va. of the Virginia league in 1919 and compiled the unbelievable record of 29 wins against two losses in 280 innings for that club.
The next two campaigns, he was 25-12 and 13-7 for New Haven, Conn. of the Eastern league and returned to that team in 1924 for a 6-4 record after being 8-13 for Reading and 6-3 for Baltimore (both of the International league) in 1922 and 1923.
His return to the American league in 1925 was as a coach with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he hurled one inning. Bender's record with t h e Athletics was 193 wins, 103 losses and with the Phillies he was 15-9. He was 17-15, 10-11, 18-11, 15-10, 16-8, 8-9, 18-8, 23-5, 17-5, 13-8, 21-10 and 17-3 for the A's and 7-7 and 8-2 for the Phils.
With the Athletics in five World Series, he compiled a 6-4 record with 1-1 efforts in 1905 and 1910, 2-1 in 1911, 2-0 in 1913 and 0-1 in 1914. In hurling 2,611 innings (386 games) in his 12-year span with the A's, he fanned 1,544, walked only 607, gave up 2,234 hits and 892 total runs.
Bender later returned to his first club, serving as a scout for the A's in 1945 and again from 1947 through 1950 before being named a coach of the club for the 1951-52-53 seasons.
Married to Marie Clements, Oct. 3, 1904, he also was a coach for the New York Giants (1931) and managed Johnstown (Middie Atlantic) in 1927, coached the U. S. Naval Academy nine in 1928, managed Richmond (Va.) in the Virginia league, which promptly disbanded, managed Newport News, Virginia league in 1941 and Savannah of the Sally league, 1946.
Bender, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N. V. in 1953, is the only Chippewa Indian to be so honored and reportedly attended reservation schools at White EArth and Pipestone.
At Detroit Lakes, Chief Little White Cloud (George Selkirk), hereditary chief of the Minnesota Chippewa Indians, has been trying to bring about a dedication of Washington park there to honor Bender, offering a large white hat for autographing at a dollar apiece to raise funds.
Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).