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Indian Summer

Start the new season with a lecture on one of baseball's controversial Native American players.


Sports fans may feel like they're on a field of dreams this afternoon, when the Society for American Baseball Research hosts a roundtable of authors at the Cleveland Public Library's main branch. The scribes include Tom Swift, who's written Chief Bender's Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star. "The organization has a reputation as being just stat-heads, which is so far from the truth. I'm math-challenged. I'm not someone who pores over statistics." says Swift. "You'll find that it's just folks committed to facts and truths, who look for more than the regurgitation of clichés."Swift's book tells the tale of Charles Albert Bender, who's considered one of the greatest Native American pitchers, playing in five World Series in the early 1900s. Both on and off the field, he was despised by other players because of his race. "He was a thinking-man's pitcher and may have invented the slider. He also faced constant racial prejudice. And the way he performed is no small source of inspiration," says Swift. "It's a richer story about the persona rather than just the player." The roundtable is from noon to 2 today at the Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-623-7015 or visit
Fri., June 27, 12-2 p.m., 2008

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