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Former Chicago Cubs All-Star Shortstop Don Kessinger to Speak at 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy Presentation Honoring State’s Top College Baseball Player

Kessinger starred at Ole Miss in basketball and baseball before a 16-year major league baseball career as a player and manager with three major league baseball teams from 1964 to 1979

Jackson, Miss., (May 1, 2017) – Former major leaguer Don Kessinger, a smooth-fielding All-Star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, will be the keynote speaker at the May 22 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum presentation of the 2017 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which annually honors the state’s top college baseball player.

Kessinger, whose grandson Grae Kessinger is the starting shortstop for the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team this year as a freshman, was the head baseball coach at his alma mater from 1991 to 1996 after playing professionally for the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. He was an All-American in basketball and baseball at the school.

From 1965 to 1969, Kessinger joined with fellow Cubs Glenn Beckert and Hall of Famers Ron Santo and Ernie Banks to make up one of the most famous infields in major league baseball history. He is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (1964), Chicago Hall of Fame, Cubs Hall of Fame, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

This is the first time since the award’s inception 14 years ago that its namesake – Magnolia state baseball legend Dave “Boo” Ferriss – will not be attending the awards program. Ferriss, who passed away in 2016, is a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and former long-time Delta State baseball coach.

For only the fourth time in the history of the award, Mississippi baseball fans will have the opportunity to take part in the voting for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy. Like the previous three years, fan voting will count for a weighted 10 percent of the overall award. A panel of Major League Baseball scouts and Mississippi college baseball coaches have the remaining 90 percent of the vote and will determine the eventual winner.

“This gives fans a chance to play a part in helping identify our state’s best college baseball players,” said Bill Blackwell, executive director of the MSHOF and co-sponsor of the award along with C Spire. “Major League Baseball and players and coaches have used fan voting to determine who plays in the All-Star game for years. Giving our fans, who are some of the most passionate in sports, a voice in the process creates more interest in an award that has become an integral part of Mississippi college baseball tradition.”

Chosen by Major League Baseball scouts who cover Mississippi and by Mississippi's college baseball coaches, the five finalists for the award will be named on Sunday, May 14. Fan voting will begin at noon CT on Monday, May 15 and conclude on Saturday, May 20 at noon CT.

By visiting www.csopavoting.com, fans can vote for their favorite college baseball player by simply providing an email address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, fans can vote three times daily by selecting their first, second and third place choices via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.

“College baseball fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire. “Several schools are having outstanding seasons and we’re excited about continuing to give fans new opportunities to support their favorite players for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy.”

2017 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 20 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men’s college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women’s college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.

The eventual winner will be announced during a May 22 luncheon program at the MSHOF in Jackson. Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum won the 2016 award. Southern Miss pitcher James McMahon won the 2015 trophy.

Tickets are $40 each and on sale by calling the MSHOF offices at 601.982.8264 or stopping by at 1152 Lakeland Drive or by going online at http://msfame.com/c-spire-ferriss-trophy/.

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class service and a superior, comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, ultra high speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at ww.twitter.com/cspire.