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Albert Sayles Ferris
(born Albert Samuel Ferris)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 162 lb.
- Debut April 26, 1901
- Final Game October 1, 1909
- Born December 7, 1874 in Trowbridge England
- Died March 18, 1938 in Detroit, MI USA
Hobe Ferris was the regular second baseman for the Boston Red Sox franchise during its first few seasons. Although he grew up in Providence, RI and was long thought to have been born there, he was actually born in Trowbridge, England and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1879. He was a shortstop in the minor leagues from 1898 to 1900, after which he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He chose to jump to the newly-formed American League instead, and signed with the Boston Americans. As the team had already signed a shortstop in Freddy Parent, Ferris moved to second base.
Hobe Ferris committed 61 errors as a rookie for Boston in 1901. This did not lead the league - Kid Gleason of Detroit made 64 errors - but it remains to this day the second-highest total ever for a second baseman in the AL. He did hit .250 with 15 triples and 63 RBI, however. The following season, he cut his error total to 39 and began to acquire a reputation as a stellar fielder with outstanding range. He was also one of the league's feistiest players, being suspended in 1902 for an altercation with umpire Jack Sheridan. On September 11, 1906, he got into a nasty fight with teammate Jack Hayden, whom he accused of lackadaisical play, leading to his suspension for the remainder of the season.
Ferris was the second baseman for the Boston team which captured the American League pennant in 1903. He hit .251 that season, with 9 home runs and 69 runs scored. He committed the first error in World Series history, in the top of the 1st inning of Game One of the inaugural World Series, dropping a ball hit by Kitty Bransfield, and opening the gate for a four-run inning by the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, he recovered from that inauspicious start to be a key contributor to Boston's upset win over the Pirates: in Game 2, he turned an unassisted double play on a line drive by Honus Wagner to preserve a 3-0 victory, and in Game 8, he drove in all three Boston runs to seal Boston's triumph. That gave him a team-leading 7 RBI for the series, to go alongside a .290 batting average.
Boston repeated as pennant winners in 1904, although no World Series was played that year. Ferris only hit .213 that season, and the team fell down the standings over the next years as its star players began to show their age. On July 4, 1905, he set a futility record by going 0 for 13 in a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics; this has only been matched by Brian Hunter, on July 20, 1998. By 1906, Boston was in last place with a 49-105 record. Ferris was one of the team's few bright spots, playing excellent defense and ranking among American League leaders in extra base hits. He was traded to the St. Louis Browns for the 1908 season, and enjoyed his best year at the plate, hitting .270 with 74 RBIs. He was moved to third base as the Browns had an established second baseman in Jimmy Williams. Not losing a step, he led AL third basemen in putouts, double plays and fielding percentage that year. However, the end was near, and after a 1909 season where he hit .216 for the Browns, he returned to the Minor Leagues where he played a few more years until he had lost his speed and his arm strength.
Sporting Life of April 8, 1905 had his photo and a biography. He first attracted attention while playing at Attleboro, MA, and then was in the minors in the Northeast until Boston picked him up. The article praised his fielding and especially his throwing.
After his time in the majors, he played several more years in the minors.
His first baseball card appearance was in the 1903 E107 Breisch Williams set.
- Dennis H. Auger: "Albert Sayles 'Hobe' Ferris", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 408-410.
- Dennis Auger: "Hobe Ferris", in Bill Nowlin, Maurice Bouchard and Len Levin, eds.: New Century, New Team: The 1901 Boston Americans, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 70-73. ISBN 978-1-933599-58-8