Mississippi baseball icon Boo Ferriss dies at age 94

Published 9:10 am Friday, November 25, 2016

JACKSON (AP) — David “Boo” Ferriss, a Boston Red Sox pitcher who helped lead the team to the 1946 World Series and later coached Delta State’s baseball team for 2 1/2 decades, has died. He was 94.

Rick Cleveland, a close friend of the former player, said Ferriss died Thursday at his home in Cleveland, Mississippi, surrounded by family. Cleveland says Ferriss had been in declining health for several weeks.

Before making it to the major leagues, Ferriss played college baseball at Mississippi State. After his playing career ended he coached at Delta State from 1960-1988 and won 639 games. His Delta State teams reached the Division II College World Series three times.

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During his coaching career Ferriss produced several Major League players, 20 All-Americans and more than 60 future baseball coaches.

Boo Ferriss

Boo Ferriss

Ferriss was also a big supporter of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and baseball in general in Mississippi. The award given annually by the MSHOF to the top college player in Mississippi bears his name, as does the baseball field at Delta State.

Ferriss was inducted into the MSHOF in 1964. He’s also a member of the halls of fame for Delta State, the Boston Red Sox, Gulf South Conference and the American Baseball Coaches Association.

“A gentleman in every sense of the word, Boo Ferriss will be missed but certainly not forgotten,” Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen said in a statement. Cohen played baseball at Mississippi State and spent eight seasons as the program’s coach.“His contributions go well beyond the game of baseball. The amount of lives he touched is staggering. He is truly the greatest ambassador for baseball in the history of the state of Mississippi.”

Ferriss served in the Army Air Corps until severe asthma forced a medical discharge in February 1945.

Ferriss pitched six seasons for the Red Sox from 1945-50. He had his best season in 1946, when he finished with a 25-6 record and 3.25 ERA and was named an American League All-Star. The Shaw, Mississippi, native’s career was shortened by a shoulder injury in 1947, but he finished with a 65-30 career record.

Ferriss later served as the Red Sox’s pitching coach from 1955-59 before returning home to coach at Delta State.

Visitation will be on Tuesday at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cleveland from 4 to 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. on Nov. 30 with Rev. Tim Starnes officiating. For those who have not visited with the family a short visitation will follow the service in the fellowship hall. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Delta State baseball program, P.O. Box 361-DSU, Cleveland, MS 38733; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, P. O. Box 449, Ridgeland, MS 39158; Covenant Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 896, Cleveland, MS 38732; or the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, 1152 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, MS 39216.