The Post-Journal

Remember When Hugh Came Home?

Fifty years ago Falconer and area baseball fans honored a young pitcher who had been a hero in the 1912 World Series between the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox.

Hugh Bedient, then 22, won 20 games during the regular season for Boston's American League champions. In the post-season classic, he pitched in four games, twice in relief, and decisioned the Giants' great Christy Matthewson, 2-1, in the fifth game.

Upon his arrival in Falconer, via the D.A.V. and P. Railroad, Bedient, accompanied by his bride, was serenaded by a band as 3,000 Falconer fans greeted their hometown hero.

"The stores and residences of the Village," according to a story in the old Evening Journal, "were appropriately decorated with flags, bunting and banners while red socks were worn by practically everyone.'

He arrived in Falconer about 5 p.m. Saturday. Two hours later the Bedients were led to Jamestown in an illuminated car, part of a big motorcade. Later in the evening, following a parade which was attended by upwards of 25,000, they were guests of the management of the Samuels Opera House.

Elaborate Parade

The newspaper's account of the elaborated and enthusiastic parade said: "The scenes on the streets of this city, while the demonstration was at its height, have never been equaled on the occasion of any citizen of this community.

"The procession literally forced its way through the crowd of spectators. The Bedients' road was marked by one continuous roar of applause.

"One of the cars in the motorcade, in which a group of young men from Falconer were riding, bore the following inscriptions in large letters on canvas:

"Bedient, the pride of Falconer."

"Bedient, the Giant-killer."

"18 innings, 10 hits, 2 runs."

"Bedient? Who is He? He is the Guy Who Put The County on the Map."

Bedient hurled, besides his two starts, one inning of hitless relief in the second contest which ended in a 6-6 tie. The game was stopped by darkness after 11 complete innings. He also relieved for an inning in the third game, giving up one hit and hitting a batter as the Giants won, 2-1, for Rube Marquard.

Won 20 First Season

But his most memorable were the fifth and final games in the best-of-seven series. In the current issue of The Sporting News, author Frederick Lieb, who describes the '12 Series as "the most dramatic, controversial and historic," wrote:

"The fifth game, played in the fog on Columbus Day, October 12, saw the Red Sox take the important 3-to-1 bulge as young Bedient, a 20-game winning freshman, nosed Matthewson, 2-1.

"The Red Sox won the grand finale in 10 innings, 3-2, in a game that had many heartbreaks for the Giants. All the gremlins of South Boston worked for the Red Sox. And Matthewson, who had been handicapped by poor support in earlier games, lost another toughie.

"Young Bedient fought Matty well for seven innings but gave way to a pinch-hitter and Wood (Smokey Joe Wood), finishing up, received credit for his third victory.

Possessed Blinding Speed

The book, "Baseball's Greatest Drama," supplies a wordy description of the games in which Bedient starred. "The fifth game proved to be the finest clash and 34,683 fans attended despite a fog that did not lift until the contest was nearly over.

"Boston, with a 2-1 edge, was in a position to gamble and manager Jake Stahl nominated Hugh Bedient to oppose the valiant Giant veteran Christy Matthewson.

"The weather conditions were perfect for the blinding speed of the Red Sox youngster and he limited the National League champions to three hits, one a double by Fred Merkle which resulted in the only New York run in the seventh inning.

"The third inning proved Matty's undoing. Harry Hooper and Steve Yerkes tripled and Yerkes scored when Larry Doyle fumbled Tris Speaker's easy grounder. Matthewson was supreme thereafter and retired the next 17 batters in order, an exhibition that ranked with his stellar performances of 1905 (when he pitched three shutouts in the World Series).

Deserved Shutout

"Bedient deserved a shutout in this, his first Series start but Larry Gardner's error permitted Merkle to score. It was a nerve-wracking contest throughout and a grand pitching duel between a steady veteran and a cool youngster.

"In the last game, Matthewson hooked up with Bedient and lost a heart-breaker to the home team in 10 innings, 3-2, errors of omission and commission handing the Classic to Boston.

"The Giants scored in the first inning and and Matty held the Sox scoreless for six innings. But in the lucky seventh, Stahl's flyball dropped safely between Fletcher, Devore and Snodgrass. Wagner walked and Bedient was yanked for a pinch-hitter, Olaf (Swede) Henricksen, who, with the count two strikes, one ball, doubled to left, tying 1-1.

Costly Error

"New York scored a go-ahead run off Wood in the tenth, but in the bottom half Art Engle pinch hit and reached safely when Snodgrass muffed his flyball in centerfield. Yerkes walked and Speaker singled driving in Engle. Matty walked Duffy Lewis intentionally and Gardner flied to Devore, Yerkes sprinting in from third with the winning run. The loss cost the Giants approximately $1500 each. There were tears in Matthewson's eyes when he walked off the mound."

Today Hugh Bedient lives quietly at his home, 114 North Phetteplace, Falconer.

Hale and hearty, only 10 days from his 73rd birthday, Hugh chafes at the inactivity of retirement.

Bedient stepped out of baseball on an unusual note in 1925. He was with Atlanta of the Southern Association and had a 2-0 record on Decoration Day when he took the mound against the Chicks at Memphis. Irked by an umpire's decision, Memphis fans showered the field pop bottles, cushions, fruit and programs. The game was forfeited to Atlanta and Bedient's professional career closed on a three-game winning streak, his swan song being a 9-0 shutout.

Out For Three Years

Hugh, who had joined Buffalo in the old Federal league in 1914, was in Toledo in '17 when he injured his arm. He returned to Levant, then his home, and was out of baseball for three years.

He rejoined Toledo of the American Association in 1920, was sold to Portland of the Pacific Coast League and wound up his career amid the noise and rabble of Memphis in '25.

"I was going good and felt fine," Hugh said as he watched via TV while the Dodgers edged the Giants to even the National League playoff. "I just can't explain why I quit, but I felt the strain of trying to produce every fourth day would be a little too much, so I came home."

Hugh, an American League man during his playing days, is a National league rooter now. "I don't care too much, but it would be nice to see the Giants or the Dodgers win this one," he smiled.

No story about Bedient is complete, of course, without referring to his phenomenal strikeout feat in 1908 while pitching for Jamestown against Corry. Hugh fanned 42 men in 23 innings before Jamestown pushed across the winning run. Semi-pro records are sketchy and ill-kept, but most statistic-minded baseball men agree it must be a record for strikeouts in one game.


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.

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