RIP: George "Boomer" Scott, an original

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George “Boomer” Scott — the great Red Sox slugger from Greenville who famously called his home runs “taters” — died Sunday at his home in Greenville. He was 69.

I met and interviewed Scott at his induction ceremonies into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and asked him why he called his home runs “taters.”

“That came from growing up back home in the Delta,”Scott said. “I ate me a bunch of taters and I hit some, too. I liked ’em both ways.”

Scott his 271 Major League home runs and was one of the great first basemen in the game. He won nine Gold Gloves and played in three All-Star games.

Because of how big he was — and “Boomer” was a large man — people were always surprised at what a deft glove man he was and how athletic he was around the bag at first.

People in Greenville already knew. Scott had been a three-sport standout at Coleman High before integration. In fact, John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, tried to recruit him to UCLA.

“Coach Wooden told me if I went out there with him we’d win four national championships,”Scott said, laughing loudly. “Well, I signed with the Red Sox for 10 thousand dollars and he won four national championships anyway.”

In football, Scott teamed with fellow Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Willie Richardson. Scott was the thrower; Richardson the receiver In fact, Scott once threw Richardson a long touchdown pass to beat Jackson Lanier.

“Willie told me, ‘You just throw it up there and I’ll go get it,’ “Scott said. “Well, I threw it up there and Willie went up over three or four of their guys and got it. With all due respect to Jerry Rice, Willie Richardson had the best hands I ever saw.”

In his Big League career, Scott played in 2,034 games, batted .268 and drove in 1,051 runs.

E.T. Davis, his friend of more than half a century in Greenville, remembers Scott all the way back to Little League and then his days at Coleman High.

“He averaged about 40 points a game in basketball and if they had had a 3-point line it would have been more than 50,” Davis said.

Scott and Davis were planning on coming to Jackson Friday for Jimmie Giles induction into the Sports Hall of Fame.

“George was good friend,” Davis said, choking on his words. “He was always trying to help people, especially kids. He loved kids. He loved people.”

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