top of page
  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Ferris, Joe (1991)

A native of Brewer, Ferris compiled a 16-3 record during three years of varsity competition at the University of Maine including 9-0 in 1964 when he was selected as MVP of the College World Series.

Maine won the Yankee Conference with an 8-2 record, then defeated Northeastern in a two-game playoff at Fenway Park. Pitching with a fractured glove hand. Ferris went eight innings in a 9-5 Maine win in the first game.

There would be bigger wins. As a sophomore pitching in the Black Bears first World Series, Ferris defeated Seton Hail 5-1, and defending national champion Southern California 2-1. He was credited with a save with 2(1/3) innings of relief against Arizona State, striking out Sal Bando with two on and two out in the seventh Inning.

His ERA was 0.89 for 20 innings. Ferris was named to the all tournament team and his 9-0 record was the top winning percentage in the nation for Division | pitchers. That summer he played In the Cape Cod League.

in 1965, Ferris was selected Maine Athlete of the Year by the Augusta Rotary Club. He was 4-2 for Maine that year as the Bears missed a chance to tie for the Yankee Conference championship with a loss to New Hampshire on the last day of the season.

As a senior, Ferris got off to a shaky start, but finished 3-1, pitching mostly in short relief. He holds school records for most consecutive games won (nine in 1964) best winning percentage In a season (1.000 in 1964) and best career winning percentage (.842, 16-3, 1964-1966). In 1988 he was inducted into the University of Maine Hall of Fame.

After college, Ferris was neither drafted nor signed by any professional team. He had a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies in the spring of 1967 but was not offered a contract. With exception of a few years of summer baseball in the Portland and Bangor areas, his baseball career ended in the early 1970's.

But, his professional growth didn’t. Ferris graduated from the University of Maine Law School in 1970 and he has practiced since in his home town.

Ferris is active in community organizations. “I had the great privilege of coaching American Legion baseball for parts of three summers In Orono-Old Town with Stump Merrill and Gabby Price,’ he said.

From UMO GoBlackBears

ORONO, Maine – The University of Maine baseball team has announced that 1964 College World Series Most Outstanding Player Joe Ferris '66, will become the latest honoree on the team's Wall of Legends. Ferris' name and number 29 will be unveiled on the outfield fence prior to Maine's final home game of the season on Saturday, May 18 against Binghamton. Saturday's festivities will begin at approximately 10:35 a.m. prior to the 11:00 a.m. scheduled first pitch.

Ferris, Maine's only College World Series Most Outstanding Player, still holds records for win percentage in a season (9-0, 1.000 in 1964) and career (16-3, .842). Ferris' 9-0 record included two wins in Maine's first College World Series appearance, as the Brewer, Maine native held Seton Hall to just a single run in a 5-1 win in the opening game.

He was called upon in relief in Maine's third game of that World Series against No. 2 Arizona State. With the Black Bears leading 4-2, the Sun Devils put two runners on base with two out. As Ferris entered the game, he would face future big leaguer Sal Bando, who would go on to knock 242 career home runs with the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. After getting ahead 0-2 in the count, Ferris would throw three consecutive balls.

In one of Ferris' biggest moments of his Black Bear career, he got Bando to swing over a sinker below his knees for the third out of the inning, as he earned a save in two-plus innings of work.

Maine would go on to face defending champion USC in game four, in Ferris' second start of the CWS. Maine would end up winning 2-1, as Ferris would retire 17 consecutive batters after allowing the one run. USC threatened in the eighth inning, but Ferris would strand the bases loaded.

In the next game, Maine would fall 2-1 to No. 1 Missouri, as the Black Bears would finished third in College World Series that season. Ferris posted a 9-0 record with a 2.23 ERA in 1964, including an 0.87 ERA in the CWS to earn win most outstanding player.

"Joe has been part of the Black Bear family through it all," said head coach Nick Derba. "He was one of the greats in the program's first College World Series appearances and has been a major supporter of the program since then. Every player that has come through these doors since 1964 has seen Joe around. Not only is he a huge fan of baseball but he attends and supports all Maine athletic events. Joe is a legend and deserves a place on the Wall."

Ferris went 4-2 in 1965 and 3-1 in 1966 for an impressive career record of 16-3.

Ferris will become the sixth Black Bear to have his number honored on Maine's Wall of Legends, joining fellow Black Bear standouts Mike Bordick (3), Bill Swift (8) and Mark Sweeney (12). Ferris's coach, Jack Butterfield (21) and the Black Bear's all-time winningest manager, John Winkin (5) also hold a spot on the Wall of Legends.

From Wikipedia

Joe Ferris was an American college baseball pitcher who won the 1964 College World Series Most Outstanding Player award while a sophomore at University of Maine. He is the only player from University of Maine to win that award.

He was inducted into the University of Maine Hall of Fame in 1988.

He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991

From the Bangor Daily News

“It was bigger than we we thought, to be honest with you,” Merrill said of the reaction to the team’s accomplishments.

Ferris headlined a group of front-line players in 1964. He finished the season with a 9-0 record and still holds UMaine’s season (1.000) and career (16-3, .842) marks for winning percentage.

“He probably accomplished something that will never be done again. He went through a season without a loss, and he was the MVP of the tournament,” said Merrill, who later became manager of the New York Yankees.

From Portland Press Herald


It was a time before baseball players got scholarships or fancy facilities. Ferris recalled living at home and paying $225 per semester to attend school. Maine’s ballpark didn’t have a fence, scoreboard or dugouts. Just some portable bleachers that sat about 60 people.

And the players had the time of their lives.

“We thought we had all we need,” Ferris said. “We were all a bunch of sophomores (freshmen couldn’t play varsity college sports in those days). I knew we had a good shortstop and a good catcher. I don’t think we knew how good the pitching was going to be."

Thanks largely to Ferris, it was more than good enough.

The season opened in Maryland and Ferris was summoned for his Black Bear debut in the second game against Dartmouth, with Maine nursing a big lead.

Ferris, known for his excellent control, promptly walked six batters and allowed four runs. So imagine his surprise when he was selected to start the next game, against Hampton. Ferris allowed two hits in a 9-1 victory, followed it up by holding Columbia hitless until the seventh inning of another win, and soon found himself as Maine’s designated Friday pitcher for weekend series in the Yankee Conference.

Ferris went 6-0 as Maine won its league. That earned the Black Bears a trip to Fenway Park to face Northeastern in a best-of-three series, with the winner earning a berth in the eight-team College World Series.

Merrill heard his teammates talking about Omaha on the bus ride home.

“I thought that was the team we were going to play. That’s how naive I was,” he said.


Ferris said many of the Black Bears had never been on a plane, in an era when men actually put on suits and ties for air travel. But the Black Bears arrived to find many signs they weren’t expected to actually compete with the likes of Missouri, Minnesota and Mississippi.

Other teams stayed in downtown luxury. Maine was relegated to something called the Hill Hotel, a fleabag outside town.

“We changed at the hotel and we’d walk down through the stands and the fans were saying, ‘Don’t even unpack; two and out,’ that type of thing,” Merrill said. “They put the teams from District 1 in the Hill Hotel because they weren’t expected to be there that long.

“Then we became the darlings of Omaha.”

Maine won the opening game of the double-elimination tournament with Ferris beating Seton Hall, 5-1.

Comeuppance came in the next game when Minnesota dismantled the Black Bears, 12-0. Thompson had Maine’s lone hit.

“That was the low point of the season. I was so bummed that we were going to embarrass ourselves,” Ferris said.

Arizona State, up next, was ranked second in the nation. But Maine took a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning. Ferris was called on with two runners on, two outs and Bando – who would be the MVP of the next year’s College World Series before hitting 242 home runs in the majors for the A’s and Brewers – digging into the batter’s box.

Ferris threw two strikes, then three balls.

“I remember that pitch like it was today,” Ferris said of what followed. “It was a sinker below the knees and he swung right over it.”

Ferris, Joe (91)

53 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page