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Dave Ferriss

Dave Ferriss
Born: (1921-12-05) December 5, 1921 (age 94)
Shaw, Mississippi
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 29, 1945 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
April 18, 1950 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Win-loss record 65-30
Earned run average 3.64
Strikeouts 296

Dave Meadow "Boo" Ferriss (born December 5, 1921) is a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.[1] After his playing career was over he returned to the Mississippi Delta for two stints as the Head Baseball Coach at Delta State University where he retired as the school's all-time leader in wins with 639.[2] He was given the nickname 'Boo' as the result of a childhood inability to pronounce the word 'brother'[3]

College and Major League career

Ferriss received the first full baseball scholarship to Mississippi State University,[4] where he pitched in 1941 and 1942 and joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was signed by the Red Sox in 1942,[5] but by the military shortly afterward for World War II service. After an early military discharge due to asthma, Ferriss was sent to the Red Sox' Triple-A Louisville Colonels. When the Sox started slowly in 1945, he was called up and made a spectacular Major League debut with a two-hit shutout on April 29. He went on to set a longstanding American League record for scoreless innings pitched at the start of a career with 22, which stood until July 22, 2008 when it was broken by Oakland Athletics' Brad Ziegler with a major-league record of 39, besting the mark of 25 set by the Philadelphia Phillies' George McQuillan in 1907.

Ferriss compiled a 21-10 record in his rookie season, and followed it with a 25-6 mark (the best in the American League) in 1946, for the Sox team that won the American League pennant. He started two games for Boston in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and won one of them before getting a no-decision in the seventh and deciding game won in St. Louis by the Cards. His record in 1947 was 12-11. Arm troubles and asthma restricted him to only nine starts in 31 appearances in 1948, and by 1950 his playing career was over. In his injury-shorted Major League he compiled a record of 65-30. He still holds several Major League records, including most consecutive home wins (13, also in 1946).

On November 14, 2002, he was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Coaching career

Ferriss served as pitching coach for the Red Sox under manager Pinky Higgins from 1955 to 1959 before moving on to Delta State University as head coach in 1960. He guided Delta State to a 639-387-8 record and three appearances in the NCAA Division II College World Series before retiring after the 1988 season.[6]

He is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame, the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Ferriss spent 46 years in baseball at the collegiate and professional levels and was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988 at their annual meeting in Atlanta. His 639-387-8 record as Delta State as head coach ranks him among all-time national coaching leaders at the NCAA Division II level, and his last (1988) team was ranked ninth in the nation in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Ferriss directed DSU teams to the NCAA Division II playoffs in eight of his last 12 years, including three trips to the NCAA Division II championships where the Statesmen finished third, second and third respectively in 1977, 1978 & 1982. Gulf South Conference championships came in 1978, 1979, 1985 & 1988, with the Statesmen finishing second in 1981 and third in 1982. Forty-nine of his players earned All-Gulf South Conference honors.

Ferriss also earned several honors for his coaching accomplishments. In 1988, he received the United States Baseball Federation Service Award for his contributions to the game. He has been named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times, and earned similar Gulf South Conference coaching honors three times as well. In 1978 & 1982, he was elected College Baseball Coach of the Year in Mississippi and was runner-up in that category in 1985 when his team that year was ranked No. 1 in the nation for several weeks in the NCAA Division II poll.

Under his direction, 20 Statesmen players earned All-American honors and 23 continued their baseball careers on the professional level. Twenty former players received Academic All-American honors, and forty former players are now coaching in the high school and college ranks.

In addition to coaching at DSU, Ferriss also served at various times as athletic director and director of the DSU Foundation.

He is a 1989 inductee into the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Mississippi Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

In February 2008, Ferriss welcomed back author John Grisham to Delta State's campus for an athletic fundraiser. Grisham, a Mississippi native, began his career path "thanks to coach Ferriss" after Ferriss had cut Grisham from his team in the fall of 1978. In Grisham's "The Kindest Cut," the author details his time at Delta State and how coach Ferriss handled the difficult task of cutting the would-be outfielder.

As of 2011, Ferriss continues to champion the cause of collegiate baseball across Mississippi and the United States. He is a frequent speaker at civic clubs across the state, and never misses a Statesmen ball game.[7]

The baseball field at Delta State is named Ferriss Field in his honor [8] as well as the "Boo" Ferriss Baseball Museum[9] which is located at the Robert L. Crawford Center at Delta State University.[10]

In 2008 Delta State awarded him an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.[11]

Ferriss Trophy

In the fall of 2003, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced its sponsorship of an annual Mississippi Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year award, and that the trophy would bear Ferriss' name and likeness. The trophy is officially called the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, bearing the name of current corporate cosponsor C Spire Wireless (formerly CellularSouth) along with Coach Ferriss' name. C Spire has sponsored the Ferriss Trophy throughout its existence.[12]

Ferris Trophy Winners [13][14][15][16][17][18]

Personal life

As of 2011, he is still living with his wife, Miriam Izard Ferriss, in Cleveland, Mississippi. He is the father of two children, Dr. David Ferriss of Simsbury, Connecticut and Margaret Ferriss White of Madison. They have two grandchildren, Miriam Ferriss and David Ferriss.[19] He is a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Cleveland.


Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Joe Dobson
Boston Red Sox Pitching Coach
Succeeded by
Sal Maglie