St. Ann’s Bobby Ferry left lasting impression
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 11th and final installment in a series on the Hazleton Area Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017, which will be inducted at a banquet next Sunday at Genetti’s Catering, Hazle Township. Call Ron Marchetti at 570-956-1532 for ticket information.
Doug Ferry never saw his father play in a basketball game.
But as he pored over his late father’s scrapbook recently, childhood memories of hearing his dad’s old friends in Freeland — people he didn’t even know — tell stories about Bobby Ferry’s exploits on the hardwood and his own impromptu shooting session with his dad all came rushing back. They’re all Doug needed to realize just how super a player his late father really was at now defunct St. Ann’s High School in Freeland and later for one season at Mount St. Mary’s College.
So super was the elder Ferry that he will be posthumously inducted into the Hazleton Area Sports Hall of Fame one week from
tonight, with Doug accepting a plaque on his father’ s behalf.
“We once were at my grandmother’ s house in Drexel Hill,’’ Doug said. “My dad must have been in his 40s at the time and he said, ‘Let’s go shoot some hoops at the basket at the (neighborhood) playground .’ By then he hadn’t played in years. ... I don’ t think he missed a shot.’’
Bobby didn’t miss many shots for tiny St. Ann’s from 1947-51, leading the Crusaders to the Mountain League championship as a sophomore. By his junior year, he made enough shots to be named to the All-Mountain League first team and ear n All-Regional second-team honors.
That set the stage for Bobby’s senior year for the ages, when he won the league’s scoring crown with 308 points in 12 games, including 42 one night. His average of 25.5 points per contest was a local record which lasted for several seasons. His point total was 73 more than the league’s second leading scorer.
Overall, Ferry scored 735 points in 29 games (25.3 ppg). He headed the All-Freeland Team, which was made up of players from St. Ann’s, Freeland and Foster Township high schools and MMI Prep.
The Associated Press voted him to its “Little” All-State team, which was comprised of players from the state’s smallest schools. He was the only parochial school player and only one under 6-feet tall — he stood slightly taller than 5-10 — to earn all-state honors that season. He also was the first player from a Freeland-based school ever to make all-state; while re peating as an allleague and All-Regional performer.
“The local sportswriter of the day loved my dad,’’ Doug Ferry said, as he looked over more ar ticles from his father’s worn scrapbook.
The elder Ferry took his immense talents to Mount St. Mary’s, where he once scored 19 points against King’s Colle ge. However, he decided that college wasn’t for him and left the Emmittsburg, Md. campus after one year.
Bobby and his future wife, the former Anne C. Koch met at a bar in Hazleton, but moved to Drexel Hill in Delaware County after their marriage. They raised four children, a daughter, Victoria, and sons, Doug, Carl and Robert.
Bobby spent several decades working as a corrections officer, first at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and then at Graterford Prison, before his retirement.
He passed away on Dec. 4, 2014.
Bobby Ferr y, a star basketball player at now defunct St. Ann’s High School in Freeland in the early 1950s, will be posthumously inducted into the Hazleton Area Spor ts Hall of Fame next Sunday.