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The boys of summer remembered

With baseball season right around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to highlight a book about a local baseball hero! Have you heard of Charles (Chief) Bender? Most of his baseball career was with the Philadelphia A's under manager Connie Mack. His career spanned the years 1903-1917. He pitched in a number of World Series including his no-hitter in 1910. And to think, he was from right here in White Earth, and accomplished all he did during a time of great prejudice, hence the stereotypic nickname "Chief." Charles Bender was an extraordinary man, gifted in many ways. Come to your library and find more books about the boys of summer.

• Chief Bender's Burden, by Tom Swift. The greatest American Indian baseball player of all time, Charles Albert Bender, was, according to a contemporary, the coolest pitcher in the game. Using a trademark delivery, an impressive assortment of pitches that may have included the game's first slider, and an apparently unflappable demeanor, he earned a reputation as baseball's great clutch pitcher during tight Deadball Era pennant races and in front of boisterous World Series crowds. More remarkably yet, Chief Bender's Hall of Fame career unfolded in the face of immeasurable prejudice. This skillfully told and complete account of Bender's life is also a portrait of greatness of character maintained despite incredible pressure of how a celebrated man thrived while carrying an untold weight on his shoulders.

With a journalist's eye for detail and a novelist's feel for storytelling, Tom Swift takes readers on Bender's improbable journey from his early years on the White Earth Reservation, to his development at the Carlisle Indian School, to his big break and eventual rise to the pinnacle of baseball. The story of a paradoxical American sports hero, one who achieved a once-unfathomable celebrity while suffering the harsh injustices of a racially intolerant world, Chief Bender's Burden is an eye-opening and inspiring narrative of a unique American life.

• The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie, by Ira Berkow. Pulitzer Prize winning author Ira Berkow chronicles a remarkable life as The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie masterfully recounts one soldier's compelling struggle to overcome incredible odds and journey from an army hospital in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius to the pitcher's mound in Shibe Park. Named to the 1949 All-Star Game, Brissie threw a fearsome fastball. I couldn't hit the guy with a tennis racket, noted Johnny Pesky, the former Red Sox third baseman. Brissie was a great guy... A fine arm, sneaky fast, said batting champion Ted Williams.

• Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye. Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher, interviewing more than two hundred Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige's steps across the continent. Here is the stirring account of the child born to an Alabama washerwoman with twelve young mouths to feed, the boy who earned the nickname "Satchel" from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school, inventing his trademark hesitation pitch while throwing bricks at rival gang members.

The Detroit Lakes Library is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.

For more information on library services and programs, please call 218-847-2168 or visit your library at 1000 Washington Ave.

The Detroit Lakes Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL).