Flick Statue Dedicated in Bedford
Vince Guerrieri | On 26, Sep 2013
Elmer Flick has taken his place in the town square.
Flick, a Bedford native and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was immortalized in a statue dedicated Wednesday in his hometown. His career ended abruptly in 1910, and he died in 1971, but he remained fresh in the memory of many people who attended the dedication. Tim Taylor, a Bedford native and former anchorman for WJW-TV, served as the master of ceremonies for the event, and remembered Flick at his high school games in the 1950s.
“I knew Elmer Flick,” he told the crowd. “Mr. Flick loved the game of baseball so much, he would come to our games, leaning on a cane, and yell instructions at us.
“And I was one of his favorite targets.”
Taylor said while he was in high school, he and his teammates took Flick for granted – as did the town.
“We were kids,” he said. “We didn’t know we were in the presence of greatness.”
On hand to represent the Indians were Bob DiBiasio, executive vice president for public affairs, former players Joe Charboneau and Len Barker, and former player and manager Mike Hargrove. DiBiasio said the statue represents part of the team’s mission of connecting generations, creating memories and celebrating families.
After Flick’s playing career was curtailed by a stomach ailment, he returned to his hometown and worked. Flick, who won the 1905 batting title, was demanded in a potential trade for a hotheaded Tigers rookie named Ty Cobb, but Naps manager and namesake Napoleon Lajoie turned down the deal. After Cobb, a first ballot hall of famer, died in 1961, the story of Flick being asked for in the trade resurfaced. People were able to see what a talented player he was, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963 – the oldest living inductee, at 87. Until he died, family members said, Flick answered fan mail and continued to follow Major League Baseball, watching the game on television while having two other radios – one for each ear – to listen to other games.
But again, he slipped into obscurity until Jim Wagner started doing some research for local history in 2004. Wagner, who was introduced by Bedford Mayor Dan Pocek as the city’s greatest dreamer, started the ball rolling to get the statue built.
Donations trickled in for it until the economy collapsed in 2008. But after a visit to the Bedford Automile Association, efforts were renewed and plans went from a dream to a reality.
The statue was made by Ron Dewey, who has sculpted statues throughout the country, including “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a statue sitting outside the Terrace Club at Progressive Field.
Wagner was singled out for praise by Flick’s family members and Pocek, but it didn’t feel like labor to him.
“This is baseball,” Wagner said. “I assure you, it’s not work.”