Boo Ferriss: These 'Dogs are hair-raising

Boo Ferriss (left) looks on as Hunter Renfroe accepts the 2013 C Spire Ferriss trophy. Ferriss has enjoyed this post-season run by his alma mater. (Photo by Ed Gardner)

Boo Ferriss, the first fully scholarshipped baseball player in Mississippi State history and the patron saint of Mississippi baseball, can’t get enough of these Bulldogs.

At 91, Ferriss doesn’t have much hair left, but he has enough to know “every game Mississippi State plays is hair-raising.”

“Seems like every game goes down to the final pitch,” Ferriss says. “The great thing about this team is that every night, it’s somebody else coming through both on the mound and at the plate.

“Like last night, that guy (Trey) Porter hasn’t been used much recently and then he comes up in a key situation and wins the game.”

And, no, Ferriss says, he has never in all his years of baseball seen a bullpen quite like this one State has.

“The bullpen is just phenomenal,” Ferriss says. “Sometimes, I think they can’t wait to get the bullpen because it’s just so good. Who ever heard of a relief pitcher (Ross Mitchell) with a 13 and 0 record? I haven’t. And that other left-hander (Chad Girodo), man, he’s been so good in the post-season.”

Leave it to Ferriss, a Hall of Famer and a wise and thoughtful man who has been watching baseball for more than eight decades, to look at the big picture.

“It’s hard to believe that just three seasons ago (2010), State finished 6 and 24 in the Southeastern Conference,” Ferriss says. “And now they are just one victory away from playing for the national championship. Man, you almost couldn’t make that up.”

No you couldn’t.

It was May 20, less than a month ago when Ferriss presented the C Spire Ferriss Trophy to State’s Hunter Renfroe, who would go on to the picked in the first round of the Major League draft . Naturally, Ferriss has watched Renfroe closely.

“Hunter has all the tools,” he says. “He can really run for a such a big, strapping guy and he’s got a great arm. He hits for average and he hits for power. He’s got a lot of work to do at the next level and I’m sure he knows it, but you can’t teach what he already has.”

Ferriss is just as impressed with Renfroe off the field. Ferriss sent Renfroe clippings from several newspapers after Renfroe won the award. Renfroe, Ferriss says, responded with “a really nice, really thoughtful” letter back.

The great Boo Ferriss.

Ferriss had more to say about the Bulldogs.

About shortstop Adam Frazier: “Man, that guy can hit. That one game at Virginia he went six for six. Six for six is good any time. Six for six is good in church league softball, but in the Super Regional, that’s hard to beat.”

About closer Jonathan Holder: “He throws hard, and he’s got a great curve ball when he keeps it down. He hung that one against Oregon State and it almost cost him, but he hasn’t hung many. All you have to do is look at his numbers.”

About first baseman Wes Rea: “Big play there at the end last night picking up that throw for the last out.. . . Seems like every time he comes up in a key situation, he gets a big hit.”

About what Dudy Noble, the coach who signed him to the first full baseball scholarship in Mississippi history, would think about this Bulldog team: “Coach Dudy was big on fundamentals so I think he would appreciate this team. Coach Dudy didn’t say much, but he’d have something nice to say about this team. He’d be proud because he laid the foundation for everything has come after in Mississippi State baseball.”

About State’s chances to win it all: “In a short series, anything can happen. Look at what has happened to LSU. I’ve seen it happen so many times in tournament baseball. Teams that have had great season, go out early. It’s all about playing well at the appointed hour. What has happened before doesn’t matter. This team is playing mighty well right now. I can’t wait to watch.”

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