/Seventy years ago this week Ferriss got advice from Ol’ Diz

Seventy years ago this week Ferriss got advice from Ol’ Diz

On Sunday, October 9, the St. Louis Cardinals will celebrate the 70th anniversary Game Three of 1946 Series. It pits the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. David “Boo” Ferriss was just 24 years old and had just finished his second season in Major Leagues. He had won 21 games as an rookie and 25 more his second year. Grover Cleveland Alexander, the only Major League pitcher to have won more games than Alexander in both 1911 and 1912 seasons, is the only one who has won more. Ferriss, a Shaw, Miss. native, won the start in Game 3. He was nervous, but that’s because Fenway’s Green Monster, is tall. Ferriss said that he had “more butterflies than usual” when he was working on his biography. “The ballpark was full and flags flew all over the place. Sports writers were there from all over the country.” Before the game, Ferriss ran into another future Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, Dizzy Dean, one of his boyhood heroes and the former Cardinals pitching star-turned-broadcaster. Ferriss stated that Diz was wearing a big, 10-gallon hat and was chatting up with everyone. He threw his arm around me shoulders and said, “Kid, just go out and throw the same way as you have been throwing all summer.” It’s just another game after your first pitch. “I replied, “I don’t know Diz. This isn’t just another game to me. All those flags and all those writers… “But what do you know? Diz was correct. Seventy-years ago, in Game Three, Ferriss threw the same as he had all summer. His fastball, which was geared towards right-handed hitters allowed him to strike out six Cardinals batters. For only the 50th World Series shutout, he shut out the Cardinals with just six hits. Tickets cost $1.20 for bleacher seats and $7.20 for box seats. This sold-out crowd of 34,000. A program cost 25 cents. Compare: A World Series ticket for this year would run you $300, if you were able to get one. Standing room would be the norm. Walter Stewart, the famous and sometimes witty sports reporter of the Memphis Commercial Appeal covered the ’46 Series. He quoted Ferriss saying that he used mostly curves and fastballs, and that he had good control. Stewart then added that it was on that day that Ferriss said he learned to pitch from Stan “The Man”. He walked Musial in the first inning and he then stole second base. Then,… “I went into the stretch and saw that Stan was far off second base. I ran at him, and threw at Pinky Higgins at second base. Pinky then tagged him out. “I’ve always believed that this is the best way of pitching to Stan Musial. Walk him, then pick him up.” Ferriss lost the best way for Musial to pitch. Musial hit it right-center field for a triple. He managed to get one over the plate. Ferriss said, “I have never seen anyone run faster from home plate to third. Ferriss couldn’t believe how fast he was. With Enos “Country,” Slaughter at the plate and the shutout on his hands, Ferriss had no choice but to keep his cool. Ferriss was able to score two hits on Slaughter and decided to throw his razor-sharp curve ball. Slaughter was able to swing powerfully — but missed. The Red Sox had won. Ferriss was handed the ball by Hal Wagner, the Red Sox’s catcher. Ferriss walked over to Martha Anne’s box seat and presented Ferriss with the ball. The same baseball is now in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Fame. Rick Cleveland is Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog.