Carl "Stump" Merrill celebrates with pitcher Joe Ferris.
Photos courtesy of University of Maine Special Collections, Fogler
Links Related to this
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
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
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.