George W. Bechtel
- Bats: Unknown, Throws: Unknown
- Height: 5' 11", Weight: 165 lb.
- Debut May 20, 1871
- Final Game August 19, 1876
- Born September 2, 1848 in Philadelphia, PA USA
- Died April 3, 1921 in Philadelphia, PA USA
George Bechtel played for West Philadelphia (1867); Philadelphia Geary (1867-1868); Philadelphia Keystones (1868-1869); Philadelphia Athletics (1870); Philadelphia Athletics (1871;1875); the New York Mutuals (1872;1876); the Philadelphia Whites (1873-1874); Philadelphia Centennials (1875); and the Louisville Grays (1876).
He was an above-average player in the National Association, and hit .351 on the 1871 Philadelphia Athletics who won the pennant. He occasionally placed in the top 10 in various offensive categories in other years as well. However, he didn't play well in 1876, the first year of the National League.
Together with Bill Craver, Bechtel was part of the first ever baseball "transaction" as we understand the term today, when the pair were traded a few blocks away from the Philadelphia Centennials to the Athletics to replace injured players Dave Eggler and Wes Fisler in exchange for $1,500. Unlike modern teams, however, the trade was merely a money grab, and the Centennials promptly folded after the transaction.
In addition to playing in the National Association, he was an umpire for two games in 1874.
On June 10, 1876, Bechtel of the Louisville Grays wired teammate Jim Devlin a message stating "We can make $500 if you lose the game today." The Louisville team found out about the wire and Bechtel was banned. Although others had been banned before, they had all been reinstated before Bechtel's banning. He never suited up again. Thus, he becomes the first permanently blacklisted player.
He holds the career record for most innings pitched (42) without surrendering a single walk.
His whereabouts after his baseball career were long unknown, a situation which was not helped by the fact that the state of Pennsylvania had placed very strict restrictions on access to vital statistics records. When these were relaxed in 2010, it was possible to find the death records of a number of players, including Bechtel. He was a blacksmith following his banning from the game and died in Philadelphia, PA in 1921. Al Reach attended his funeral, according to his obituary.
- "George Bechtel Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, July/August 2012, p. 1.