Filling in the Blanks–Felts

27 Jul

A semi-regular feature providing more biographical information for a player who lacks a complete profile on Baseball Reference.

For the 1927 Hattiesburg and Meridian Mississippi teams in the Cotton States League, Baseball Reference lists a player simply as “Felts” as playing for both teams.

Every college football fan in America in 1931 knew that the Felts who played in the Cotton States League was All-American Tulane Fullback Nollie C. “Papa” Felts.  That time in the Cotton States ended his collegiate career.

Felts was in the midst of his 2nd career in college football in 1931.  Born February 7, 1905, he had captained the Southern Mississippi football team in 1923, also lettering in baseball and basketball.  Felts left Southern Mississippi to become a teacher and raise a family, and took time out in the summer of 1927 to play 20 games in the Cotton States League.

Nollie Felts

In 1930 Tulane offered Felts a scholarship to play football and attend medical school.  Felts became captain and earned All-American honors in 1931 leading Tulane to an 11-0 record in the regular season and losing 21-12 to National Champions USC in the Rose Bowl.

 Felts’ football career ended the next season.  He was forced to miss the Green Wave’s first game of 1932 with Texas A&M when the Southern Conference ruled him ineligible because of his 20 game career in professional baseball.  Felts claimed he had not been paid by either Hattiesburg or Meridian, an assertion that was confirmed by team and Cotton States League officials, and appealed the decision. The Southern Conference executive committee unanimously rejected Felts’ appeal and he was declared permanently ineligible.

Without Felts Tulane finished the 1932 season 6-2-1, including their first loss since 1926 to in state rival LSU.

Felts turned down several offers to play professional football, opting to finish medical school. He practiced medicine in Hattiesburg, Mississippi until death on November 1, 1974.

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