Circa 1913 Chief Bender Photo

Sold For: $470

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1404

Item Year: 1913

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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Vintage original press photo, culled from The Detroit News archives, picturing pitcher Chief Bender in action as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics. In addition to its remarkable overall quality, what makes this photo all the more unique is that the Hall of Fame pitcher is captured not on the mound, as one would expect, but at the plate. Bender is seen nearly completely turned around after his swing as he eyes what is probably a pop up in foul territory (which would also explain why the catcher is not pictured in the shot; he is probably chasing down the ball). Reverse markings include an "International News Service" credit stamp (type used by the syndicate between the years 1909 and 1915), a date stamp reading "Filed Before June 1919," and the handwritten editorial notation "Albert (Chief) Bender - When pitcher for Philadelphia." Bender played with the Athletics from 1903 through 1914. If we assume that Bender is wearing a gray road uniform here, which appears to be the case, then according to the Baseball Hall of Fame uniform database, the jersey style shown here dates the photo to the two-year period 1913 through 1914. Bender, like a number of other prominent players at the time, jumped to the short-lived Federal League in 1915 and then finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies (1916-1917). One of the top pitchers of his era, Bender retired with 212 wins, a 2.46 ERA, and an exceptional .625 winning percentage. The photo (6.375 x 8.5 inches), which has flawless clarity, has a few very minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including a couple of insignificant creases and reverse editorial notations. Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $470

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