by Jack Minnoch
Baseball Publication Praises Hugh Bedient
Sporting News Says He Was One of Best Hurlers When Red Sox Won World Series
This section has two old-time pitchers that people like to talk about, the one is Hugh Bedient and the other is "Swat" Erickson. Today's story will be about Hurling Hugh, who had the distinction of beating Christy Matthewson with three-hit ball on Columbus Day, 1912. Beating Christy Matthewson at all was remarkable, for in the 1905 series Mighty Matthewson won three straight games, all shutouts. Later, tuberculosis took his life. But before that happened, Matthewson had won 372 games, lost 189 for a 12-year average of .633.
But, to get back to Bedient. The day he won from Matthewson, Bedient was at his best. He had to be, for so was Matthewson. The greatest of all the McGraw Giants hurled five-hit ball himself, and lost principally because two of the hits he gave up were triples by Hooper and Yerkes.
Hugh's effective hurling was a big factor in keeping the Red Sox in a series that they eventually won four games to three with one tie.
Before he blinded Giant batters in the fifth game that beat Matthewson, he pitched one inning in each of two series struggles. One of these one-inning windups was also against Matthewson, the game ending in a tie.
In the eighth and climax contest of the series that Hugh Fullerton says, in the Sporting News, "had everything," Bedient worked seven stanzas before being pulled in favor of a pinch-hitter named Clyde Engle, who the writer knew better as coach of Yale and scout for Toronto, than he did as a ball player. The score was then 1-0 in favor of the Giants, but the Sox tied it up in their half of the seventh before Smoky Joe Wood, the relief chucker, took over. Eventually the Sox won 3-2. Snodgras' muff of Engle's hit to the outfield helping Boston to pull the game out of the flames. Gardner's long sacrifice fly drove in the winning run.
Referring to the 1912 World Series, the Sporting News, baseball weekly, said in a recent issue "Hugh Bedient, that year was one of the best."
His Son War Casualty
Bedient, who makes his home on Levant Road, lost a son, Palmer Bedient, a casualty of the war. The younger Bedient chose piloting to pitching, although he had possibilities of becoming a ballplayer in his own right.
The senior Bedient started his professional career with Fall River, Mass. in the New England League. That was 1910. The next fall, he was drafted by the Red Sox. Later he was sold to Providence of the old Eastern League. Hugh served 'em up for three years with Boston. He went to Buffalo in 1915 with the new Federal League. From there he traveled to Toledo in the American Association. Bedient was out of organized for a spell preferring to pitch in semi-pro, which in those days was often as good on the pay side as the pro stuff. But he was spotted again by the scouts and hustled off to Toledo once again, being with that team in 1921, '22, and '23. From there he went to Portland on the Pacific Coast for a year and finished up as a pro at Atlanta of the Southern Association in 1925.
"What did he have on the ball?" "Not much at the start, except speed," according to Bedient himself. But as time went on he got him self a good curve and made the most of splendid control. Hugh could chip the corners much after the manner that a mason does with a chisel and he developed a fine change-of-pace, his chief stock in trade in his later years on the mound.
Bedient lasted a long time in the box after he was through as a pro, pitching stellar ball for both Falconer and Jamestown. In fact, it was as a semi-pro slugger that he set a world's record that still stands. He won a 3-1 game at Corry, Pa., in which he struck out 42 batters.
Jackson Hardest Hitter
Asked who was the greatest hitter he ever pitched to, Bedient, without hesitation, answered, "Shoeless Joe Jackson." Ty Cobb once said the same thing. "Jackson was the best natural hitter I ever saw," added Hugh.
To pitch in Bedient's day, an elbower had to be smart. What, with hitters like Tris Speaker, Cobb and Jackson doing everything that was possible with a bludgeon.