Former Ole Miss pitcher Cecil Burford, who helped lead the Rebels to the 1956 College World Series, passed away Thursday in Madison, Mississippi.
Funeral services were held Sunday in the Chapel of Wells Funeral Home in Batesville with graveside service and interment at Magnolia Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of your choice in his honor.
Buford was predeceased by a son in 1969. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, their two sons Cecil W. Burford, III, of Atlanta, Georgia and Christopher H. Burford, (Bronwyn Caves Burford) and two grandchildren, Elizabeth Faulkner Burford and Catherine Holmes Burford, all of Madison. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Marilyn Rowsey Canada and husband Frank Canada of Hernando, Mississippi and nephews Dr. Brad Canada and Jason Canada of Memphis, Tennessee.
Buford, 79, was a 2007 inductee into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame. A two-time letterman (1956-57) from Como, Mississippi, he helped elevate the Rebel baseball program to new heights, including the College World Series appearance.
In that run to Omaha, Burford claimed Most Outstanding Pitcher honors in the 1956 NCAA District III Finals as he helped Ole Miss defeat Tennessee Tech and Duke. During that 1956 season, Burford also earned another mark that few pitchers have been able to achieve as he no-hit Vanderbilt in a 3-0 win. He is one of only five pitchers to toss a no-hitter in Rebel baseball history. Burford also hurled a one-hitter against Tennessee Tech in 1956.
During his five years (1953-57) in a Rebel uniform, Burford helped Coach Tom Swayze’s Rebels to an 80-38-1 record as Ole Miss burst onto the national scene. A sore arm in 1955 kept him from seeing any action and that season was counted as a redshirt year, which left him with two years of eligibility remaining. He took advantage of those final two seasons to earn his two letters as Ole Miss finished 40-18.
Following his career at Ole Miss, Burford then played professional baseball in the minor leagues in the Milwaukee Braves organization. An arm injury ended his professional baseball career after three years. He won the last game he played in with a one-hitter.
He was employed by Entergy Corporation (Mississippi Power & Light Company) for 34 years, past President of the Senatobia Rotary Club and had been active in the Coldwater First Baptist Church in Coldwater, Mississippi, prior to moving to Madison.