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Recognizing a baseball legend

Rick Cleveland, sports columnist for The Clarion Ledger newspaper, has paid homage to baseball icon Boo Ferriss in his book, “Boo, A Life in Baseball, Well-Lived.” Dave Meadows “Boo” Ferriss, a “country strong” young man from Shaw, made a name for himself in the baseball world by pitching 22 1/3 scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox in 1945. But his name is forever etched in the hearts of those who have been enriched by his 26 years of coaching at Delta State University.

While “Boo” is certainly a book about Ferriss’ career in baseball, it is most profoundly a book about his gentle and humble spirit. His dream to play in the major leagues was realized when he pitched for the Red Sox, but a shoulder injury 1947 shortened his pitching career. After a few years as pitching coach for the Red Sox, Ferriss returned to Mississippi to serve as baseball coach at Delta State. Building up and nurturing that program became his second dream.

Beginning with Ferriss’ early career, accounts of his association with legendary baseball figures, letters home to his family and great photos from the early days, the book segues into a story about the Delta State baseball family. And a family it was, with Ferriss as the capable and earnest father figure. The success stories that former players credit to Ferriss are reverently shared. From carving a baseball diamond out of a beanfield to leading the Delta State team to 639 victories in 26 seasons andnumerous titles and awards, Ferriss’ impact on baseball in Mississippi is abundantly clear.

The book features an introductory tribute to Ferriss by John Grisham, Ferriss’ pitching stats, his honors and awards and DSU records. Baseball fan or not, it would be hard to not be a Boo Ferriss fan after reading this book.

— Sally Lott McLellan

Square Books, Oxford

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