Claude Raymond Hendrix (April 13, 1889 – March 22, 1944) born in Olathe, Kansas, USA, is a former professional baseball player who played pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1911–13), Chicago Chi-Feds/Chicago Whales (1914–15) and Chicago Cubs (1916–20).
He helped the Whales win the 1915 Federal League pennant and the Cubs win the 1918 National League pennant.
He finished 20th in voting for the 1912 National League MVP for having a 24–9 Win-Loss record, 39 Games (32 Started), 25 Complete Games, 4 Shutouts, 6 Games Finished, 1 Save, 288 ⅔ Innings Pitched, 256 Hits Allowed, 110 Runs Allowed, 83 Earned Runs Allowed, 6 Home Runs Allowed, 105 Walks, 176 Strikeouts, 9 Hit Batsmen, 7 Wild Pitches, 1,183 Batters Faced, a 2.59 ERA and a 1.251 WHIP.
He led the Federal League in ERA (1.69), Wins (29), Hits Allowed/9IP (6.51), Games (49) and Complete Games (34) in 1914.
He still ranks 62nd on the MLB career ERA List (2.65).
In 10 seasons he had a 144–116 Win-Loss record, 360 Games (257 Started), 184 Complete Games, 27 Shutouts, 82 Games Finished, 17 Saves, 2,371 ⅓ Innings Pitched, 2,123 Hits Allowed, 910 Runs Allowed, 698 Earned Runs Allowed, 41 Home Runs Allowed, 697 Walks, 1,092 Strikeouts, 49 Hit Batsmen, 70 Wild Pitches, 9,651 Batters Faced, 1 Balk, a 2.65 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP.
According to "Striking Out a Baseball Myth", by Amy Geiszler-Jones, "Hendrix was a right-handed pitcher who "could work the spitball to perfection," according to Wichita newspaper reports, he led the National League with his winning percentage in 1912 and 1918 and played in the 1918 World Series. Hendrix had the distinction of being the winning pitcher in the first game in the ballpark later renamed Wrigley Field.
"Hendrix’s link to one of baseball’s most notorious gambling scandals tainted his legacy in baseball.
"The 1919 World Series, it was discovered in grand jury hearings held in 1920, was thrown by several Chicago White Sox players. Eight players were indicted and then banned from baseball for throwing the series.
"Hendrix, the pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, had been linked to the scandal because it was events surrounding the Aug. 31, 1920, game he was scheduled to pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies that led to the hearings. Cubs president Bill Veeck received telephone calls and telegrams saying Detroit gamblers were betting heavily that the Phillies, ranked at the bottom of the league, would beat the Cubs, a top team. The Cubs switched their rotation and went with their better pitcher, Grover Cleveland Alexander, instead but still ended up losing the game.
"A grand jury was convened in Chicago to investigate this particular incident, and during the course of the investigation the Black Sox scandal emerged. It never ruled on whether the Cubs/Phillies game was linked to gambling.
"In the aftermath, federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was appointed baseball’s first commissioner and he banned the White Sox players from the sport.
"Landis never banned Hendrix. But that’s been the popular belief because Landis’ 1947 biography made the false claim.
"Hendrix, an only child and widower with no children, had died three years before the biography was published.
"Hendrix’s career was on a downturn in 1920 and he had announced his retirement at the end of the season, while the grand jury was still convened. In February 1921, the Cubs gave him an unconditional release and Veeck issued a statement that Hendrix’s release had nothing to do with events of 1920, alluding to the Cubs/Phillies game and the rumors that had circulated."
Hendrix moved back to Pennsylvania to play professional ball on the independent "Allentown Dukes" team (named after the team's founder). The Dukes beat a strong N.Y. Yankees team in an exhibition game played in Allentown during the 1930s. Several ex-MLB players were members of the Allentown Dukes team alongside Hendrix. The athlete also owned and operated a tavern located at Sixth and Hamilton streets in downtown Allentown.
He died in Allentown, Pennsylvania at the age of 54.
By Dean Hanley
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