Column: Mississippi HoF honors longtime DSU coach
By by Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
October 11, 2003
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has developed another award to honor collegiate athletes in the Magnolia State the Ferriss Award.
The latest piece of hardware to come out of the Jackson-based organization will go to the top college baseball player in the state, and is slated to be presented for the first time in the summer of 2004.
The Ferriss Award is named after long-time Delta State University head baseball coach Dave "Boo" Ferriss, who was the first baseball player to receive a full scholarship for baseball at Mississippi State University and pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1945-1950.
Ferriss has all of the credentials to have an end-of-the-year award named after him, though he would never admit it.
While his pro career was cut short due to arm problems and asthma, Ferriss made a name for himself in a short time playing along side such names as Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doer and a host of other legendary Red Sox.
In his rookie year of 1945, Ferriss defeated the first eight teams he faced and notched wins against every American League team he pitched against the first time around, a rookie record.
Along with former Red Sox Tex Hughson, Ferriss holds the record for consecutive home wins by a rookie (13), and he holds the record for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched by a rookie (22.1).
Ferriss was named Rookie of the Year in 1945 and finished fourth in MVP voting, but his sophomore campaign was even better.
The Shaw native posted a 25-6 record with a 3.20 ERA to help Boston reach the 1946 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The right-handed hurler pitched a complete-game shutout for the Red Sox in Game 3 at Fenway Park, picking off Hall of Famer Stan Musial at third base in the process.
Ferriss' pick off of one of the greatest players in baseball history wasn't your every day pick off. The Magnolia State native never even threw the ball over to third.
Instead, Ferriss, who saw Musial cheating down the line, simply ran at the Cardinals' first baseman/outfielder. Musial froze in his tracks on the baseline, and Ferriss simply tagged the confused runner for the out.
The play inspired an editorial cartoon in the Boston papers, and Ferriss got the chance to ask Musial what happened to him on that play years after the fact at a Legends game.
Ferriss said the Cardinal legend simply explained, "Even Hall of Famers can mess up."
But no matter how impressive, even mind boggling, Ferriss' accomplishments are he will not toot his own horn.
Notice how Ferriss talks of "we" and "team." Sure he'll tell you stories of his playing days and talk about his accomplishments, but he always brings it back to his teammates or of the young men who helped him post a 639-378-8 record during his 26 seasons as the head coach at Delta State University.
Now collegiate baseball players can dream of earning an individual award named after one of the ultimate team players.
Ferriss said the award is a celebration of baseball that just happens to have his name attached to it, and there is no one better to have an award named after than Ferriss.
Ferriss is a treasure, and we are lucky to have him and an award named after him.