by Frank Hyde
October 23, 1956
When Hugh Bedient Came Home
25,000 Welcomed World Series Star Of Boston Red Sox 44 Years Ago
Old Mound Ace Will Soon Move to New Home
October 19, 1912... That was the day 25,000 of Hugh Bedient's friends, relatives and admirers gathered to cheer to an echo the hometown hero of the 1912 World Series.
No area citizens, the press of the day said, had ever been given such a hometown welcome before or since.
Now, more than four decades later, Hugh Bedient must have heard the ringing cheers, felt the backslaps and relived the praise as he sat silently thumbing through a myriad of pictures, programs and scrapbooks.
They were boxed and piled in the middle of the living room of the neat Bedient home near Levant - a place that will soon be home no longer.
Now it is October 23, 1956... The yesteryears are gone but as a wise man once wrote: "Memories are of the gold that endureth." And now the Bedient's are moving again.
"We moved around a lot when Hugh was playing baseball, but we've been settled here a long time," Mrs.Bedient, a deft quick woman who defies time, called from the kitchen.
"I guess it will be for the best," Hugh said raising his head from a yellowing scrapbook. "This place is pretty large for her to keep up, so we're moving to a smaller house at 14 Phetteplace in Falconer. It seems like losing an old friend, though, because we've been here for so long, you know - ever since 1917."
Pitched in Four Games
The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Giants, four games to three, in the 1912 World Series. Hugh Carpenter Bedient, who was born in Gerry, little more than a good fungo hit from where the Bedients have made their home for 39 years, appeared in four games.
He pitched in the second, third, fifth and eighth contests. (There was a tie game.)
The fifth was his shining hour. He beat the Giants' great Christy Matthewson in a mound duel that as gone down in World Series annals as one of the 20 greatest.
That is why the vast throng was on hand to greet him when Hugh and his wife stepped from the old DAV&P train at Falconer.
They cheered him, feted him and paraded him in an almost endless chain of formal and informal parties, dinners, theater dates and miscellaneous public appearances.
"It started when the train left Dunkirk," Hugh recalls. "We'd stop and someone would call for me and I'd go out and take a bow. Someone in the car said I must be a politician lining up a stumping program. I told my wife if they ever heard me make a speech they'd know darn well I wasn't a politician."
To the young, 1912 must seem so long ago. William Howard Taft was president and Jack Johnson was heavyweight champion; Jamestown was preparing to welcome home another hero, John Eke, great hometown star of the Olympics; Col. Theodore Roosevelt had been shot by John Schrank and had spent a restful night in a Chicago hospital; Bulgaria and Greece had declared war on Turkey and Abrahamson-Bigelow Company was offering children's raincoats for 98 cents.
The massive parade was led by "Morgan B. Kent's big automobile" to steal a quote or two from the Jamestown Evening Journal, which had displayed the World Series line score throughout the classic in massive block letters across the top of page one. Hugh and his wife rode in the B.F. Merriam car accompanied by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. D. Bedient.
The press of 1912 reports a committee of young men scattered vari-colored fire along the parade route and another group bore a huge sign which read: "Bedient? Who is he? He is the guy that put the county on the map! Bedient, the Pride of Falconer! Bedient, the Giant Killer! 18 innings, 10 hits, 2 runs...
There was the Moose military band, the Spanish-American War Veterans Band, the Gerry band, the Swedish Gymnastic Club as well as a dozen independent musical units. Murray Johnson led the old Falconer student body in the school's yell just as it had been given when Hugh was a great pitching star for the schoolboy nine.
Fifty or more cars were in the parade which proceeded along Third from the First M.E. Church to Cherry, down Cherry to Second, to Main to Brooklyn Square, up Main to Second to the junction of Third where it disbanded. The committee accompanied the Bedients to the old Samuels Theater (now Shea's) to see the musical comedy "The Spring Maid."
Things, it seemed, were just starting to jell.
Hundreds jammed their way into the I.O.O.F. hall the next night for a banquet honoring the man who had beaten Matthewson. A clever skit paired the "Bedient Baseball Bugs" against "All Other Insects" to trace Hugh's baseball career. Taking part were George H. Bohman, Bedient's catcher at Falconer High School; Howard Bailey, Mrs. Ira H. Johnson, H. Carl Benson, James Pullan, Ray C. Johnson, Emil A. Jacobson, George Raynor, Dr. G. F. Smith, Judge Harley N. Crosby and Dr. William O. Smith. The reception committee was composed of Mr. and Mrs. Merriam, Mr. and Mrs. Judson Wright, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Ames and the Bedients.
Hugh Bedient pitched his first high school game of baseball on April 26, 1905. He beat Jamestown Business College. The score was 12 to 10. In 1906 he didn't lose a high school game, fanning 160 batters.
On July 25, 1908, Hugh toed the rubber against Corry in what resembled a very ordinary baseball game under very ordinary circumstances. When it ended a world's record for strikeouts was in the books. Bedient had fanned 42 men in 23 innings, winning 3 to 1. On August 3, 1908, he pitched a perfect no-hit, no-run game against a Youngsville nine.
Then came Fall River, Mass. and professional baseball, a draft call to Providence where he as the club's top chucker in 1911, sharing honors with Jimmy Lavender, later to shine brightly with the Chicago Cubs for many campaigns.
Jersey City purchased him from Providence at the end of the 1911 season for $750 and sold him to the Boston Red Sox for $5,000.
20-10 Record For Sox
Hugh Bediet went into the 1912 World Series with a 20-10 record but he was a definite underdog the raw, foggy day he faced Matthewson in the fifth game of the series in Boston, October 12. But the weather fitted Hugh's blinding speed and he gave up just three hits, one a double by Fred Merkle that saved the Giants from a shutout.
It was a historic season. Walter Johnson of Washington set a record with 16 consecutive victories and Ty Cobb of Detroit repeated as American League batting champion with a .410 average. Shoeless Joe Jackson, then of Cleveland, chased him in with .398. Cy Young, greatest pitcher of all time, retired after 22 years in baseball, Clyde Milan of Washington stole 88 bases and Washington won 16 straight games on foreign diamonds, a record that still stands.
Out of that welter of epic baseball history small wonder a tinge of greatness rubbed off on a 23-year-old kid named Hugh Carpenter Bedient from a country town and lifted him to the heights. And small wonder 25,000 rushed to laud him. It was an era that respected greatness; when man's sense of value remained undimmed.