By Daryl V. Rowland
Special to the Beacon Journal
BEDFORD: Diehard baseball fans might have to go hungry or pack a lunch today when a new statue of 1963 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Elmer Flick will be dedicated at noon on the Bedford Commons.
On hand for the ceremony will be the Flick family; Indians President Mark Shapiro, VP Bob DiBiasio and team advisor Mike Hargrove; former Indians pitcher Len Barker and outfielder “Super Joe” Charboneau; Bedford Mayor Dan Pocek; Flick historian Jim Wagner; and the statue’s sculptor, Ron Dewey.
A slugging outfielder, Flick was born in Bedford in 1876 and is best known as the player Cleveland management would not trade for a young Ty Cobb.
According to the American Society for Baseball Research (SABR), in 1907, Detroit Tigers manager Hughie Jennings grew tired of his talented but combative young outfielder, Cobb, and offered to trade him to Cleveland for Flick. Charles Somers, the Cleveland president, refused.
In 1905, at the height of Flick’s time in a Cleveland uniform, he topped the league in triples (18), slugging percentage (.462), and batting average (.308, which remained the lowest mark for a batting champion until Carl Yastrzemski won the 1968 American League title with a .301 mark) and came in second in on-base percentage (.383).
The following season, Flick led the league in runs (98), triples (22) and stolen bases (39).
Flick’s major league career ended in 1910, curtailed by a mysterious gastrointestinal ailment that was never conclusively diagnosed, but he lived into his 90s.
Buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Twinsburg, Flick posthumously was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and into the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame 10 years later.
The bronze Flick statue in Bedford will be located within an infield made of light brown pavers. The Elmer Flick Recognition Committee is offering pavers that can be personalized or inscribed in the memory of a loved one for $100 and $50.