David "Boo" Ferriss: A Baseball Great Lesson Plan

Karla Smith


At all levels of athletic competition, Mississippian Boo Ferriss serves as an inspiration to all athletes.  A pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in the 1940s, Ferriss suffered a career-ending injury in 1947 and served a brief period as a professional baseball coach for the Red Sox. Boo Ferriss then returned to his native state. In 1959, he became the athletic director and head baseball coach at Delta State University.  It was here in the Mississippi Delta that he launched one of the most successful baseball programs in the state.


Mississippi Social Studies Framework: Competency 6.


Grades 7 through 12.


  • Mississippi History Now article
  • Unlined paper
  • Markers and/or colored pencils
  • Whiteboard and marker


The students will:

  • determine how events shape and influence the lives of individuals.
  • create a mural that plays tribute to baseball great Boo Ferriss.


The teacher will ask the students to name their favorite professional baseball team. The student responses can be recorded on the board. The teacher will ensure that Boston Red Sox is listed. The teacher will ask the students if they can name a native Mississippian who played for the Boston Red Sox. The teacher will tell the students that former Boston Red Sox pitcher Boo Ferriss was born in Shaw, Mississippi, and later became a legendary baseball coach and athletic director at Delta State University and that they will have an opportunity to learn about his life and career. (The teacher may want to use a map of the state in the opening of this lesson, in order to show students the location of Shaw, as well as Cleveland).


  • The teacher will ask the students to read the Mississippi History Now article. After the students have read the article (this could be assigned as homework the day before), allow them to choose a partner for the next portion of the lesson.
  • The teacher will explain to the students that the circumstances and events we experience in our lives help shape who we become as individuals. The teacher will ask students to choose ten events in the life of Boo Ferriss that they feel had the most impact on his life.
  • The students should list the ten events on the chart below and then explain why they feel the event had a significant impact on the life of Boo Ferriss. The chart can be duplicated for students or the students can be instructed to copy the chart from the board.
Major Events in the Life of Boo Ferriss
Major Event Significance
  • The teacher will ask for student volunteers to share information from their chart. The teacher can list the events on the board.
  • After leading a class discussion about the major events in Boo Ferriss’s life, the teacher will place the students in groups of three.
  • The teacher will ask each group to create a mural about a specific period in Boo Ferriss’s life. (Example: childhood, school age, college, military, professional baseball, college baseball coach). Each mural should serve as a tribute to the life and career of Boo Ferriss.
  • Allow the student groups to display their murals.


The teacher will ask the students to describe the characteristics possessed by Boo Ferriss that allowed him to be successful in his life. The teacher will record these characteristics on the board. The teacher will then ask the students to give an example of when these characteristics were demonstrated in his life.


  1. Class participation
  2. Chart
  3. Murals


  1. Allow students to research famous athletes from Mississippi.
  2. Allow students to research sports programs at the universities and colleges in the state.
  3. Allow the students to create a narration of a Boston Red Sox’s game when Boo Ferriss pitched. Students can assume the roll of announcer.