Chief Bender won 212 games and pitched in five World Series during his 16-year big league career. Fifteen of those years were spent with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.
The glory years of Bender’s career came in the five-year period from 1910-1914. In that span he went 91-31 and pitched in four Fall Classics, winning three. Many believed his work earned Cooperstown consideration.
By the time he was elected in 1953, Bender was in poor health. This letter from the Hall’s president Paul Kerr is written to Bender coincidentally on the pitcher’s 70th birthday, May 5, 1954. Kerr congratulates Bender on his induction and writes about the unveiling of Bender’s plaque.
Kerr writes, “Your addition to the National Baseball Hall of Fame has been well deserved, and I was very happy to participate in your election.” Toward the end of the correspondence, Kerr acknowledges the the poor health of Bender, “I am sorry that you have been ill and I hope that you are able to be up and around to attend the game this year, together with the unveiling of the plaques, including your own on August 9th at Cooperstown.”
Bender did not live to see that unveiling as he died 17 days after Kerr wrote this letter.