The Post-Journal

Hugh Bedient

Hugh Carpenter Bedient played baseball in an era of giants. He was one of the finest mound stars ever produced in the era - a soft-spoken gentleman, but a hard-nosed competitor. Hugh moved up from the local sandlots to the Boston Red Sox in 1912 where he became a starter and at times the club's chief stopper. Hugh Bedient, who died in WCA Hospital at 11 last night, was a home boy from start to finish. Unlike many big leaguers who pulled up roots and moved to more elegant surroundings when success touched them, Bedient always returned to the area of his birth, Gerry, Levant and (at the time of his death) Falconer.

There were two baseball milestones in Hugh's career that his old friends recall more vividly than others. One sprang from sandlot ball, the other was carved out in the big time. Hugh once struck out 42 men in 23 innings at Corry to establish what is generally believed to be an all-time record for any kind of ball. Then there was his brilliant victory over Christy Matthewson of the New York Giants in the 1912 World Series.

Offers poured in after Bedient's strikeout feat and he finally made the big jump into professional baseball. He reported to Fall River of the New England League in 1910 and the next season was called up by Boston. Hugh went to spring training in Florida, but the Sox were a set club with a lineup no rookie was going to crack. So his next stop was Providence, where he joined what may have been the worst minor league club of its time. The Reds lost 105 International League games and three times dropped 13 in a row, but Hugh came through with a very respectable 8-11 record.

The Red Sox were watching Hugh carve his way through the minors, however, and when he was called up in 1912, he stayed and won 20 games, losing 10, and helping pitch the Bosox into the World Series. Hugh opposed the mighty Matthewson in the fifth game at Boston, October 12, and beat him 2-1. It has often been referred to as one of the 10 greatest mound duels in World Series history. Bedient gave up three hits, Matthewson five. Boston won the series.

Bedient remained with Boston through 1913 and 1914 then jumped to Buffalo of the newly formed Federal League in 1915, often referred to as the "Outlaw League" for no apparent reason. He had a 16-18 record for Buffalo, but it was the last season for the Federal, and when it folded a despondent Hugh returned to Falconer. National and American League owners talked a lot about action against the "jumpers" who deserted the established circuits for the new loop. But wiser heads prevailed and plans to dish out huge fines and suspensions were dropped.

Bedient went back into baseball with Toledo in 1916, and eventually received an offer from Manager Miller Huggins of the New York Yankees. But World War I was teeming, and Bedient joined the military. "I thought it was a lot more important," he explained simply years later. Connie Mack of the Athletics was also after Bedient when he enlisted, but when his military hitch was finished, he returned to Toledo where he remained for four years.

Hugh was at Atlanta of the Southern Association for a time but eventually came home to a good job offer and "more security than professional baseball could offer," as he put it. He pitched in later years for Billy Webb's Spiders at Celoron and once beat the famous Homestead Grays three times in a row. "I guess time was running out on my arm," Hugh told friends when he was honored recently at a birthday dinner in Falconer. It was a typical Hugh Bedient statement - honest and forthright. Time was running out on Hugh's arm then, and now it has completed its rotation for a fine man as it must for all of us sooner or later. And when it does, we hope we will leave behind as many friends as did Hugh Carpenter Bedient.

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