Tricia Walker | Diamond in the Rough

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Diamond in the Rough

by Tricia Walker

A reflective song about the life of Coach Dave "Boo" Ferriss, performed in an acoustic Americana style with an emphasis on the lyrics.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
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1. Diamond in the Rough
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Album Notes
This single is a brief story of Coach Dave "Boo" Ferriss, a wonderful gentleman and 'dean of Mississippi baseball' who spent 46 years in college and pro baseball and won 639 games as the head coach of Delta State University. DSU went to the NCAA Division II World Series three times under Ferriss, made the playoffs in eight of his last 12 years and won four conference championships. Before his retirement in 1988 Ferriss had produced 49 all-conference players, 20 All-Americans and 23 that went on to professional careers. He won 46 games his first two years in the majors and is a part of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Born in Shaw, Mississippi, on Dec. 5, 1921, Ferriss earned his nickname because that’s how as a young boy the word “brother” came out. He quickly became a standout athlete, so much so that Ferriss was the first player in Mississippi State baseball history to earn a full scholarship to the school. Boo Ferriss was a standout pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in the mid-1940s, winning 46 games in his first two seasons. He was a right-handed pitcher and left-handed first baseman for the Bulldogs in 1941 and 1942 before signing with the Boston Red Sox and spending some time in the military during World War II.

Expecting to spend some time in the minor leagues, Ferriss was instead rushed up to the majors and quickly made the Red Sox’s decision look very good. In 1945, Ferriss won 21 games with a 2.96 ERA, throwing 26 complete games and five shutouts in 35 starts. He finished fourth in the MVP voting.

The next year was even better — Ferriss won 26 games, was named an All-Star and threw a six-hit shutout in Game 3 of the 1946 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He got the ball in Game 7 as well, pitching a no-decision in the Red Sox’s eventual loss. Ferriss was one of the brightest young stars in all of baseball when on a chilly, damp night in Cleveland, Ohio, that next July he faced the bases loaded and a full count in a scoreless game. Ferriss’ curve ball struck out the batter, but Ferriss felt a snap in shoulder and was never the same. The same injury today would be cured with a surgery and a few months of rehabilitation. Then? “They rubbed me down with rubbing alcohol and told me to be sure to wear a coat,” Ferriss has said.

He gritted through it, keeping his spot in the rotation. But Ferriss was never the same, going 12-11 in 1947 and pitching parts of the next three seasons before retiring as a player.

After several years as the Red Sox’s pitching coach, Ferriss came to Delta State where he literally had to carve the baseball field out of a bean field. There will never be another 'Boo.' (notes written by Rick Cleveland, sports writer for Mississippi Today; art design by Bryan Rodgers, DSU Baseball '77 All-American)



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