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May / June 2005 Cover


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UMaine Today Magazine


Lasting Impression

Carol Merrill and Joe Ferris
Catcher Carl "Stump" Merrill celebrates with pitcher Joe Ferris.

Photos courtesy of University of Maine Special Collections, Fogler Library
 

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It was a Cinderella story, the likes of which college baseball had never seen.

In 1964, the University of Maine played in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. It was UMaine's first trip to an NCAA championship tournament.

The team from the north was pitted against southern clime powerhouses Arizona State and the defending champs, University of Southern California. The UMaine squad, mostly sophomores and juniors, was led by a part-time coach. One of the team's star pitchers played with a cast on his wrist. Temperatures some days reached
97 degrees.

What ensued captured the imagination of a nation and the hearts of Mainers. UMaine beat Seton Hall, but was pounded by Minnesota. The Black Bears then turned into "unheralded giant killers," defeating Arizona State and Southern Cal. UMaine was a coin toss away from a bye in the finals; Missouri handed the Bears their third-place finish.

UMaine coach Jack Butterfield was voted the NCAA Coach of the Year. Sophomore pitcher Joe Ferris was the tournament's MVP.

 

 

UMaine Today Magazine
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