The Obit For Sheldon "Chief" Bender

Reds' great "Chief" Bender dies at 88

The Cincinnati Inquirer

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Sheldon “Chief” Bender, one of the key front office people in the Big Red Machine Era, died Wednesday at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton.

He was 88.

Bender came to the Reds with general manager Bob Howsam from St. Louis in 1967.

Bender was the Reds farm director from 1967-89.

“He was in one of the seats of power under Bob Howsam,” Reds announcer Marty Brennaman said.

“He had a vitally important role on every major decision made under Howsam. ... whatever’s written and said, it’s hard to understate the impact Chief Bender had on this organization.”

Bender retired from baseball in 2005 after spending 64 years in the game as a player, manager and executive.

The last 39 years were spend in the Reds front office.

A list of the players developed under Bender includes: Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey Sr., Don Gullett, Mario Soto, Ron Oester, Tom Browning, Paul O’Neill, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis and Barry Larkin.

In 2002, the Reds renamed their minor league player of the year award the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award.