Monday, October 15, 2012

Dave "Boo" Ferriss - ambidextrous player

Boo Ferriss
Dave Meadow "Boo" Ferriss
Born: December 5, 1921
Hometown: Shaw, MS
College: Mississippi State (1939-1942)

Height/Weight: 6' 2", 208 lb.
Positions: Pitcher and Pinch Hitter
Bats: Left
Throws: Both, RHP in MLB

Dave Meadow "Boo" Ferriss is a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. When Ferriss was young he developed throwing and fielding skills to play baseball right- or left-handed. Ferriss was a teammate of hall of fame hitter Ted Williams.

How Ferriss became an ambidextrous player -

“One game there, as I started playing some, a runner came into me at second base and I guess dumped me and I fell on my right wrist and broke it. I was always throwing the ball around, outside the house and against the steps and everything with my right hand, so that summer I had my right hand in a cast and I started throwing lefthanded, just to keep active. I loved to get out in the yard and throw a ball -- a tennis ball -- outside the house and the steps, so I developed some talent throwing lefthanded also.” Batting was different, though. ”I never batted right in my life. I don’t know how I started that. It just came natural to me.” 

Ferris played first base when he wasn’t pitching -- and he had to carry two gloves because of an idiosyncrasy that confused some of the other teams: he played first base left-handed, then pitched right-handed. ”I guess I was saving my right arm,” he says. 

Ferriss did pitch a little left-handed in semipro days, but never in professional baseball.

source: Dave Ferriss - SABR Baseball Biography by Bill Nowlin

Hall of Fame

On November 14, 2002, Boo Ferriss was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1961.

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame | Dave “Boo” Ferriss

Since 2004, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame has awarded “The Ferriss Trophy” to the top collegiate baseball player in Mississippi.

David "Boo" Ferriss: A Baseball Great by Rick Cleveland

His first organized game was one to remember. At age 13, and in the seventh grade, he was called down out of the stands to play second base for the high school team. A much larger and older opposing player bowled over him on a close play at second base, breaking his right wrist. That summer, right-handed Ferriss learned to throw the ball left-handed. His ability to throw either right- or left-handed would amaze baseball people throughout his career.

Unlike most pitchers, who are usually poor hitters, Ferriss hit like a natural hitter. On days when he did not pitch, he was often called on as a pinch hitter. He would further amaze his teammates and opposition alike by pitching batting practice left-handed on his off days.


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