Monday, 17 March 2008

Father of Spokane Baseball

by Norm Jollow
Dixon Evening Telegraph, Dixon, Illinois, Thursday, June 18, 1953

A WAY, WAY BACK, when baseball flourished in Dixon as it did all over the country, George Ferris was a student at the Northeastern Illinois College of Law here in Dixon and played some mighty sharp shortstop for the school.
Today, George Ferris is a highly successful lawyer in Spokane, Wash., and is regarded as the "Father of Baseball" in Spokane.
"George," says John Devlin", Dixon lawyer, "was as fast an a bullet and he often had three or four men chasing him around the basepaths when he started to steal a base. But George usually always managed to get to the next base safe."
for Dixon for one year (1901) and then moved on to Ogden, Utah, where he played in the Utah State League. Later in the season, he moved to Spokane.
for three seasons (1903-05) and then became player-manager. After the 1906 season, he gave up baseball as a player and took a job with the legal department of the Northern Pacific Railway company as assistant attorney which he held until 1920 when he entered general practice in Spokane with his younger brother, Edward.
In 1933, Ferris was appointed corporation counsel for the city of Spokane and he has held that position ever since. In December, 1951, he was presented a plaque in New York by the Institute of Municipal Law Officers, an organization made up of city attorneys in the United Stales and Canada. This was the first citation ever given by the organization and it states that it is awarded for "outstanding contributions to the advancemcnt of municipal government."
BACK IN THE BASEBALL DEPARTMENT, Ferris won his title as "Father of Baseball" in Spokane because of the big part he played in getting that city a team in the Western International league and for his work and effort in getting the city to agree to build the present Spokane park.
In honor of his work, the park has been named "Ferris Field." Recently, the management of the Spokane team named Ferris "Mr. Baseball of the Week" and carried his picture on the cover of the official program.
AMONG FERRIS' OTHER ENDEAVORS in the field of baseball: He acted as sole umpire for all games in the Spokane City league from 1907-1912. In 1919, he was president of the Spokane club in the International League which comprised about the same clubs presently under the Western International League.
From 1920-1936 he was president of the Idaho-Washington League and in 1937 Ferris Field was named after him.
In 1952 a Ferris night was held in honor of the first game, he ever played for Spokane and he was presented a trophy and a round trip plane ticket to the World Series.
FERRIS WAS BORN IN STERLING and his father worked for the Northwestern Railroad. In 1904 he married a Spokane girl and they nave one son, Edward P. Ferris, a practicing attorney in Spokane.

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