Elmer Flick

Elmer Harrison Flick
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1963
Primary team: Cleveland Indians
Primary position: Right Fielder

In 1891, a 15-year old Elmer Flick went down to the train station to give his hometown semi-professional baseball team in Bedford, Ohio a send-off. With the train ready to leave and only eight players present, someone asked the youngster to join them. Despite being barefoot, Flick jumped at the opportunity – and a Hall of Fame career began.

Born on Jan. 11, 1876 in Bedford, Flick starred as a catcher for his high school team, but didn’t join real organized baseball until he made his debut with Youngstown, Ohio, in 1896. “In my first game for Youngstown, I hit a ninth-inning homer with one on to win, 2-1,” said Flick. “That's when they first started to call me 'Elmer Flick, the demon of the stick'.”

After one more season in the minor leagues, Flick was brought up to the Phillies in 1898, but was largely expected to come off the bench because of Philadelphia’s veteran outfield. “Flick is going to make the outfielders hustle to hold their positions,” said Francis Richter, a Philadelphia writer. “He is the fastest and most promising youngster the Phillies have ever had.”

On April 26, future Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Thompson went down with an injury. Flick entered the game, recorded two hits and began his 13-year career. In four full seasons with the Phillies, Flick hit .345, with a career best .378 in 1900.

Following the 1901 season, Flick was one of several National League players who jumped to the year-old American League. He appeared in 11 games for the Philadelphia Athletics that spring, but was prohibited from playing any more when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that any players under contract to the Phillies could not play for another team.

Flick, however – along with teammate and future Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie – circumvented the order by signing with the AL’s Cleveland Naps. The court order could not be enforced outside of Pennsylvania, so Flick and Lajoie were eligible to play for the Naps except when Cleveland traveled to Philadelphia. During those games, Flick and Lajoie took a paid vacation.

Flick played the rest of his career in Cleveland, where he led the league in stolen bases twice and triples three times. He also won the batting title in 1905.

Illness slowed Flick’s career from 1908-1910 and he played his last two seasons of professional ball in Toledo, Ohio, in 1911 and 1912. He finished his major league career with 1,752 hits, 268 doubles, 164 triples, and 330 stolen bases.

Flick was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963 by the Veterans Committee. At 87 years old at the time of his election, Flick became the oldest living player to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown.

"Flick reported with a bat that he had turned out for himself on a lathe and kept in a canvas bag. "
Lee Allen

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1963
Primary Team: Cleveland Indians
Position Played: Right Fielder
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Bedford, Ohio
Birth year: 1876
Died: 1971, Bedford, Ohio
Played for:
Philadelphia Phillies (1898-1902)
Cleveland Indians (1902-1910)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
1483
At BatsAB
5597
RunsR
950
HitsH
1752
Doubles2B
268
Triples3B
164
Home RunsHR
48
RBIRBI
756
Stolen BasesSB
330
WalksBB
597
Batting AverageBA
.313
OPSOPS
.834
On Base %OBP
.389
Slugging %SLG
.445