/A Delta celebration of a wonderful life

A Delta celebration of a wonderful life

The coliseum at Delta State may have been big enough, but it didn’t matter. Boo Ferriss was a baseball legend who died on Thanksgiving Day, just days before his 95th birthday. He left clear instructions regarding his funeral. His list included that it should be at the church where he had been worshipping for most of his adult years. Ferriss’s beautifully written instructions are clear: “Service is not to praise or glorify me. It is one that is meant to praise and glorify God.” My life has been blessed greatly by the Lord and he has been a great strength throughout my years. “My blessings are numerous and I have much for which to be grateful.” Ferriss compared Mike Kinnison, Delta State’s baseball coach, to Ferriss. Kinnison was like a second child to Ferriss. Kinnison said that Coach Kinnison didn’t want there to be too much hullabaloo. It had to be short and simple. Rev. Rev. The service was attended by over 500 people and lasted for 45 minutes. Starnes spoke about Boo Ferriss’ goodness and smiles outnumbered tears. Funeral goers frequently nodded their heads as Starnes described the good fortune of the funeral. Starnes told us he was preaching from a pulpit he had purchased in 1946 from Ferriss. Ferriss had just won 25 games during his second Major League season. In the 1946 World Series, he had pitched a complete game for the Boston Red Sox. With the possible exception of Bob Feller he was the best baseball pitcher at that time. That season, he made $20,000 Starnes does have a photo of the Bank of Shaw cheque Ferriss sent to Starnes on December 18, 1946 for $585. Ferriss’s impeccable script is used to write the note. It reads: For “church pulpit furnishings.” This would be similar to a Major League player buying a new church. Ferriss became a coach after a 1947 shoulder operation ended one of the most promising baseball careers. It was always God’s will. Starnes said, “Miriam, Boo’s wife, told me that baseball gave Boo the platform to do the job God called him to, which was coach.” She is right. Boo Ferriss was a life-long teacher. Although he had deep faith in God, he did not preach to his players. He led by example. He lived by The Golden Rule every day of his life, every week and every year. He did the same for others as he would want them to do for him. Many of his former players sat on the right-hand side, many of them from across the U.S. Although most are now graying or bald, they still look like ballplayers, tall, broad-shouldered, and erect. They all have a deep love for Ferriss and a respect for him. They call themselves “Boo’s Boys”, and they are. Kinnison smiled through his moist eyes while he spoke about his mentor who was in declining health for several months. Kinnison stated, “I don’t want it to sound wrong but it was almost as if the good Lord weaned me from Coach.” He was so involved with Delta State for so many years, but due to his declining health, he couldn’t make it to practices or the games the last few months. Kinnison said, “He couldn’t go to church or do so many of the things he loved to.” Kinnison added, “He told us to tell his boys not worry about him. He had lived a long, blessed life and knew who was responsible for him. He was always ready. So we celebrated David Meadow Ferriss’ life and celebrated his amazing life. Mississippi Today’s sports columnist is Rick Cleveland. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog. Reach Rick at rcleveland@mississippitoday.org.