An article, originally published in The Post-Journal in 1949 and reprinted this spring, has brought together the families of two heroes from the 1912 World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
''It's unreal,'' said Randolph resident Louise Boutwell.
And, in many ways, it is, because without a series of events, including the Village of Falconer's Hugh Bedient Day Celebration in May, the connection may never have been made.
Louise Boutwell of Randolph and Tom Ames of Falconer show off a photo reproduction of the 1912 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Boutwell’s grandfather, Ray Collins, and Ames’ grandfather, Hugh Bedient, were teammates on that team. Louise and her husband, Reggie, are owners of the original photo and granted the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame permission to make a reproduction, which will hang in the CSHOF on West Third Street in Jamestown.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Here's the story in a nutshell:
Louise is the grand-daughter of Ray Collins, a left-hander pitcher on the Red Sox championship team from 100 years ago. Meanwhile, Tom Ames of Falconer - along with his brother Hermes, sisters Pam and Candy, and cousin Hugh Imus - are grandchildren of Falconer native Hugh Bedient, a right-handed pitcher for that Boston team.
But the two families may have never made a connection - Louise, her husband Reggie and Tom Ames met at the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame on Friday - were it not for a June 8, 1949 column crafted by former Post-Journal sports editor Frank Hyde that was re-published in May. In it, Hyde described a reunion the former teammates had when Collins visited the area on his way from Vermont to California.
The Boutwells, who moved to the area years ago, saw the article, which prompted a call to friend and Randolph resident Tom Wade, who, in turn, called a Post-Journal sportswriter, who then called CSHOF president Randy Anderson.
''They informed us that Ray Collins was Louise's grandfather and she knew that her grandfather and Hugh Bedient were friends,'' Anderson said.
She also let Wade know that the family was in possession of a team photograph of the 1912 Red Sox. The Boutwells brought it to Wade, who then invited Anderson to look at it. With the Boutwells' permission, a reproduction was made and framed. It will soon hang in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
''We believe, and I haven't heard anything to dispute it, that Ray Collins received that photograph as a commemorative gift from the Red Sox for winning the championship,'' Anderson said. ''We assume all the Red Sox got one. I've looked on the Internet, tried to find another one and I can't find it.
''What it means is it's a rare artifact. ... To have a rare, rare artifact to depict Hugh's contribution is remarkable. We are so grateful for permission to reproduce it.''
The donation and reunion are well-timed, because on Thursday night, the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame will be the host for Hugh Bedient Day at Diethrick Park when the Jamestown Jammers take on the Lowell Spinners in a New York-Penn League game.
''You can't have a more appropriate place to honor Hugh Bedient than at a ballpark,'' Anderson said, ''especially when Lowell (an affiliate of the Red Sox) is coming into town. All the grandchildren are going to be at the ballpark, as far as I know, and Louise and Reggie Boutwell will be there, too. You can't make this stuff up. The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is just thrilled to be part of this event.''
Tickets for Thursday's game are free and may be picked up at any of the following locations: the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Falconer Public Library, Hollyloft Ski and Bike and Jamestown Cycle Shop.
Fans will receive a free commemorative baseball card outlining Bedient's major league career, courtesy of the Community Foundation.
Game-day sponsors include Blackstone, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Falconer Little League, Falconer Public Library, Fancher, G.A. Family Services, Jamestown Jammers, Jamestown Oldtimers Baseball and Weber Knapp Company.
Gates will open at 6 p.m., Thursday for the 7:05 p.m. first pitch, which will be thrown out by Tom Ames. Hugh Imus will be the catcher during that pregame ceremony honoring their grandfather.
The rain date will be Aug. 9.