|Walter Edward "Big Ed" Morris|
Tomorrow – March 3 – marks the 85th anniversary of one of the must unfortunate and most unusual sports-related incidents in the history of this part of the country – the violent death of Boston Red Sox pitcher, Ed Morris.
Walter Edward “Big Ed” Morris was a 32-year-old, right-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, who grew up in the Foshee community between Brewton and Pollard in Escambia County. Morris broke into the Major Leagues in 1922 with the Chicago Cubs and eventually ended up with the Boston Red Sox. Morris, an American League MVP candidate in 1928, pitched in his final Major League game on Sept. 21, 1931, just six months before his life was unexpectedly cut short.
News of the incident that would end Morris’ life first appeared locally on the front page of the March 3, 1932 edition of The Evergreen Courant, under the headline “Red Sox Pitcher Stabbed At Brewton.” According to that story, which carried a March 1 dateline, Morris “was in a Century, Fla. hospital today in a serious condition from knife wounds received last night during an altercation at a fish fry near here (Brewton), given in his honor by a group of friends on the eve of his departure for the Red Sox training camp. Hospital attendants said he had only slight chance to recover.”
That story went on to say that Morris had been stabbed twice near the heart by a man named Joe White during an argument at the fish fry, which was held about five miles from Brewton.
“Witnesses said Morris slapped White down and himself tripped and fell,” the article said. “While lying on his back, they said White drew his knife and stabbed Morris after slashing at him.”
White was arrested after the incident and wasn’t initially charged as authorities waited to see if Morris would live. That all changed though when Morris died on March 3.
Despite my best effort, the only other information about this incident that I could find appeared in the March 17, 1932 edition of The Courant, in a story under the headline, “White Indicted In Death of Pitcher.” According to that story, the Escambia County grand jury indicted White, a resident of Brewton, with second-degree murder on March 11, and White was being held in jail without bond.
I looked and looked, but was unable to find out what happened in the case against White. Was he found guilty of the charges against him? Did he serve time in prison or was he acquitted? If anyone out there knows, I’d like to hear from you, so please give me a call at The Courant or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morris, who lived in Brewton during the offseason, had planned to leave on March 1 for Red Sox training camp, which was held that year in Savannah, Ga. In addition to playing for the Cubs and the Red Sox, Morris had also played for the Nashville and Mobile teams in the minor league Southern Association.
Morris was buried beside his mother in the Halls Creek Church Cemetery, just off Highway 113, north of Flomaton.