Thursday, February 11, 2016

Forgotten Stars Pt. 9: Tex Hughson and Boo Ferriss

When a team that has as long a history as the Red Sox it is natural to have players who have been largely forgotten. These are some players who simply do not get mentioned anymore or are largely forgotten.

For a brief time period in the late 1940's, Boston had a terrific team that was expected to compete with the Yankees for multiple American League pennants.  Anchored by a star-studded lineup including future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr and other stars such as Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky, the 1946 team was favored to win the World Series against the Cardinals.  Lost in that was the fact that the pitching staff also excelled and we simply do not hear as much about those pitchers as the impressive hitters on that team.
Tex Hughson was the elder statesman of the rotation, at just 30 years of age.  Hughson came up to Boston briefly in 1941 before making a big statement with his terrific sophomore season of 1942 when he won 22 games and lead the league in wins, complete games, innings and strikeouts (albeit with just 113, pitchers did not strike out a lot of batters in those days).  In 1943, his record declined slightly but his other numbers stayed relatively constant.  In 1944 he was 18-5 with a 2.26 ERA then missed the 1945 season due to military service.  He came back strong in 1946 though and was 20-11 with a 2.75 ERA and 172 strikeouts.  1947 saw a little bit of a decline and then arm problems derailed him the rest of his career.  Hughson was a three-time All Star.
Dave "Boo" Ferriss won 21 games as a rookie in 1945.  Granted it was a war-time year and the competition was not real strong, but it was still a strong showing.  In 1946, he won 25 games with a 3.25 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 274 innings.  Unfortunately, he also declined sharply in 1947 and then also had arm problems that basically ended his career.  Ferriss was an All Star in 1946. 

Joe Dobson and Mickey Harris also provided some impressive seasons in 1946.  Harris was 17-9 with a 3.64 ERA and Dobson was 13-7 with a 3.24 ERA.  The four pitchers together were one of the best rotations in Red Sox history.

Much of the reason that these players are largely forgotten is the fact that both players declined significantly and were gone shortly after 1946.  Mel Parnell and Ellis Kinder both took over in the rotation when Hughson and Ferriss faltered.  But for one brief period in 1946, Boston had two young 20 game winners leading their rotation.

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