Monday, October 9, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: October 9

October 9, 1913 – Northern Minnesota lit bonfires this evening to celebrate the defeat of the New York Giants for two Minnesota boys had humbled the mighty John McGraw, the Giant’s manager. Charles Albert “Big Chief” Bender, who won the first game for the Philadelphia Athletics, and Leslie “Bullet Joe” Bush, who pitched today, were both born and reared in the northern part of the state.


“There was not a store in Brainerd that did a nickel’s worth of business after the returns began to come in,” said William R. McKenzie of the Northern Minnesota Development Association. “The interest in the game was so intense that everybody deserted business and flocked to the telegraph office to get the news hot of the wire.

“When they heard that ‘Little Les Bush’ had pitched his team into an 8 to 2 victory, the whole town went wild. It was absolutely impossible to buy a drink after 3 o’clock. Everything was ‘on the house.’ It was the second game in the World Series to be won by a favorite son who learned the elements of baseball on the Brainerd team.

“Bush is the son of William Bush, conductor on the Minnesota and International Railroad running out of Brainerd. Until two years ago [Bush] was the pitcher on the Brainerd team and he is known all over the country. He wrote home recently that he did not expect to get into the championship games, for he is a youngster, not yet 20, and when we heard that he had pitched and won—well, Brainerd jut naturally began to turn double somersaults and got out the village band to serenade the family.”

Leslie “Bullet Joe” Bush1

Out on the White Earth Indian Reservation there was much pow-wowing and joyous jabbering in the tepees. Bender belongs to the oldest aristocracy of the state, for his fathers were noble Chippewa chiefs before Columbus waved goodbye to Genoa. He was reared and educated on the White Earth Reservation where his relatives still live.

Chief Bender2

As a small boy he adopted the white man’s baseball and pitched for the Brainerd team in 1899. So the bonfires crackled merrily tonight and every idle dollar in all the North Country was wagered on the Phillies, that is to say, Bender and Bush.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Bonfires are Lighted in Honor of Two World’s Series Pitchers. Northern Minnesota Celebrates Feats of ‘Big Chief’ Bender and Leslie Bush in Defeating the new York Giants; Both Players Born in Brainerd, Minn.”; Oct. 10, 1913; p. 1.


1     Bush


For more information on Leslie “Bullet Joe” Bush:

For more information on Chief Bender:

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