Ferriss and Bobby Doerr: Teammates for life
Posted on: February 11,2014
Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr and Mississippi and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Boo Ferriss, teammates for life, form a two-man mutual admiration society.
They have much to admire.
Doerr, 95, and Ferriss, 92, are the two living members of the 1946 Boston Red Sox American League champions, who finished 104-50, finishing 12 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers and a whopping 17 games in front of the New York Yankees.
Said Ferriss of Doerr: “He’s one of the absolute best people I ever met, so genuine, such a great friend.”
Doerr batted .409 in the 1946 World Series, which the Red Sox lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. In Ferriss’s third game shutout of the Cardinals, Doerr set a World Series record for assists.
Here’s what Ferriss said of Doerr in his 2008 biography: “…we had Bobby Doerr, the picture book second baseman. Bobby made all the plays and was just so graceful. As great a player as he was, he’s an even better person, so genuine, so level-headed, so solid. I used to watch infield practice and just marvel at him. Ted (Williams) always called him the Red Sox’ ‘silent captain,’ and I agree. He was a quiet guy who led by example. And he could hit for power. The guy had 284 Major League home runs playing second base. Even in today’s game you don’t see many second basemen do that.”
And here’s what Doerr said of Boo Ferriss for the back cover of the 2008 biography, “Boo Ferriss is one of the most classy people I have ever been around in baseball. If he hadn’t hurt his shoulder, there’s no doubt he would have been a Baseball Hall of Famer, but he has always remained a Hall of Fame person. Young people can learn so much about how to live their lives from reading a book about Boo Ferriss.”
Doerr was playing second base behind Ferriss in Cleveland on July 11, 1947, when Ferriss threw the pitch that would change his life and the immediate future of the Boston Red Sox. In the book, Doerr says he had no idea Ferriss had hurt his shoulder so badly with an overhand curve ball in the bottom of the seventh inning. Somehow, Ferriss stayed in the game and completed a 1-0 shutout. Doerr hit a home run for the Red Sox only run.
The next day, Ferriss couldn’t lift his arm above shoulder level. His pitching arm was never the same. Doerr believes the Red Sox would have won several more pennants had it not been for Ferriss’s shoulder injury that curtailed one of the most promising pitching careers in baseball history.
“…there’s no telling how many pennants we would have won,” Doerr said. “I think we would have won in ’48, ’49 and ’50.”
Ferriss and Doerr have remained close through the years, even though Doerr lives in Junction City, Oregon, approximately 2,500 miles away from Ferriss’s Cleveland home.
The two have been together for several Red Sox reunions and Boo and Miriam Ferriss have visited Doerr in Oregon. They drove to Cooperstown, NY., for Doerr’s 1986 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Doerr and Boo Ferriss last saw one another at Bobby Doerr Day at Fenway Park in 2007, but they talk on the phone often.
Says Ferriss, “It’s always a treat to talk to Bobby.”
And, as so many in Mississippi know, it’s always a treat to talk to Boo Ferriss.
A very limited number of the third printing of “Boo: A Life in Baseball Well-Lived” remain available. The book is available at select bookstores and at your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
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