Special to the DD-T
Former Deer Creek School and Ole Miss standout baseball player Bart Boykin’s legacy is legendary and solidified by his example of what a determined individual can achieve.
Boykin walked on to the Ole Miss baseball team in 1976 but by his senior year was an all-SEC performer. The story ended that way but there were a couple of hiccups along the way.
“If you ask any of my dad’s former teammates at Ole Miss, they call him Blue,” said Boykin’s son, Brett. “He thought that it would be just a matter of time before he was cut from the team and he was looking out at the team’s field manager whose name was Blue. He told his teammates that I’ve got about as much a chance of making the team as old Blue out.”
Boykin’s head coach Jake Gibbs heard him express his doubts and laughed it off, but probably agreed with his young player at the time. But a fortuitous situation would soon present itself to the young catcher. “My dad really went to Ole Miss with a plan of being a middle infielder,” Brett said. “Coming from a small school like Deer Creek, he was up against some fierce competition and probably wasn’t going to be playing middle infield at Ole Miss.”
As the team began making cuts to form a final roster, several catchers got injured in an inter squad game. “Coach Gibbs was frustrated and didn’t know what to do to find a catcher,” Bret said. “Finally, he went down the line asking his remaining players if anyone had ever caught before. The good thing about my dad playing at Deer Creek was that he played just about every position from time to time. He told Coach Gibbs that he could catch. He went two for four in that game, threw every base runner out who tried to steal against him and from that point he was a four-year starter.”
Brett said that his dad’s ability to step up and adjust continue to guide him today. “My dad was gritty and tough, and I think that’s where I got that from.” Brett said. “He was a go getter who too on the challenges of trying to make his community better and owing businesses. I think that is what has enabled me to have two good businesses and a great family.”
Editor’s Note: This story is part of an in depth series by freelance writer Patrick Ervin on the legacy of Deer Creek’s Bart Boykin.