- OF, 2B
- January 11, 1876
- 5' 9"
- 168 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 5-02-1898 with PHI
- Hall of Fame:
"I could hit anybody. They called me 'Elmer Flick, the Demon of the Stick.' " - Elmer Flick.
One of the most anonymous Hall of Famers, Elmer Flick was a sharp-hitting outfielder who played in the last few years of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. His biggest claim to fame is that he was nearly traded for Ty Cobb. The Tigers made an offer of Cobb straight up for Flick after the 1907 season, but Cleveland declined. Flick used a large-handled bat to chop balls into the dirt or spray line drives to the opposite field. He was a quick baserunner and a decent outfielder. In his ten seasons as a regular, he never batted lower than .297.
Largely unknown by modern fans, Flick was one of the great all-around performers at the turn of the century. In 1905 he won the AL batting title with a .306 average, the lowest mark to take the crown until Carl Yastrzemski's .301 in 1968. Flick narrowly missed the NL title in 1900, batting .378 to Honus Wagner's .381. After compiling a .344 lifetime average in the NL (1898-1901), Flick jumped to the Philadelphia Athletics, following Nap Lajoie, who'd gone a year earlier. When the Phillies obtained an injunction barring the jumpers from playing in Philadelphia, both Lajoie and Flick, an Ohioan, wound up in Cleveland.
In his first six seasons in Cleveland, Flick never batted below .297. The 5'6", lefthanded-hitting right fielder used a thick-handled bat, enabling him to get solid hits on inside pitches. On July 6, 1902, Flick became the first American Leaguer to hit three triples in one game, a feat he repeated in the NL. The speedster set a ML record by leading the AL in triples three consecutive seasons (1905-07). He also led the circuit in stolen bases twice (1904, 1906) and runs scored once (1906).
Following the 1907 season, Detroit manager Hughie Jennings offered Ty Cobb to Cleveland for Flick, but Cleveland declined the offer. The 21-year-old Cobb had just won his first batting title (.350), while the 31-year-old Flick managed .302. Cobb, however, was despised by his teammates. The likable Flick stayed in Cleveland. The rest of his career was plagued by a mysterious stomach ailment. He played just 99 more games over three seasons, but dragged down his lifetime average. Flick was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1963.