Whitey Ford Death | Whitey Ford Obituary – The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. Whitey spent his entire 16-year career as a Yankee. A 6x WS Champion and 10x All-Star, The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber. He will be deeply missed.
The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. Whitey spent his entire 16-year career as a Yankee. A 6x WS Champion and 10x All-Star, The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber. He will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/2KDi4V9SeA
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 9, 2020
Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford (October 21, 1928 – October 8, 2020), nicknamed “The Chairman of the Board”, was an American professional baseball pitcher who played his entire 16-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees. He was a ten-time All-Star and six-time World Series champion. In 1961, he won both the Cy Young Award and World Series Most Valuable Player Award. Ford led the American League (AL) in wins three times and in earned run average (ERA) twice. He is the Yankees franchise leader in career wins (236), shutouts (45), innings pitched (3,170 1⁄3), and games started by a pitcher (438; tied). Ford was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
The Yankees retired his uniform number 16 in 1974 and dedicated a plaque in his honor in Monument Park in 1987. In the wake of Yogi Berra’s death in 2015, George Vecsey of The New York Times suggested that Ford was now “The Greatest Living Yankee.” Ford died on October 8, 2020, at the age of 91.
Ford was born in Manhattan (66th St). At age 5, moved to the Astoria (34th Avenue) neighborhood of Queens in New York City, a few miles from the Triborough Bridge to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He attended public schools and graduated from the Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades.
Ford was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1947, and played his entire career with them. While still in the minor leagues, he was nicknamed “Whitey” for his light blond hair.
Ford began his Major League Baseball career on July 1, 1950, with the Yankees and made a spectacular debut, winning his first nine decisions before losing a game in relief. Ford received a handful of lower-ballot Most Valuable Player (MVP) votes despite throwing just 112 innings, and was voted the AL Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News. (Walt Dropo was the Rookie of Year choice of the BBWAA.)
In 1951, Ford married Joan at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Glen Cove, New York on Long Island. They lived in this city for a period during the 1950s. They had two sons and a daughter together.
Ford shooting a rifle in training for the military.
During the Korean War era, in 1951 and 1952, Ford served in the Army. He rejoined the Yankees for the 1953 season, and the Yankee “Big Three” pitching staff became a “Big Four”, as Ford joined Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Eddie Lopat. Ford wore number 19 in his rookie season, but upon his return he changed to number 16, which he wore for the remainder of his career.
Ford eventually went from the number-four pitcher on a great staff to the universally acclaimed number-one pitcher of the Yankees. He became known as the “Chairman of the Board” for his ability to remain calm and in command during high-pressure situations. He was also known as “Slick,” a nickname given to him, Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle by manager Casey Stengel, who called them Whiskey Slicks. Ford’s guile was necessary because he did not have an overwhelming fastball, but being able to throw several other pitches very well gave him pinpoint control. Ford was an effective strikeout pitcher for his time, tying the then-AL record for six consecutive strikeouts in 1956, and again in 1958. Ford never threw a no-hitter, but he pitched two consecutive one-hit games in 1955 to tie a record held by several pitchers. Sal Maglie, star pitcher for the New York Giants, thought Ford had a similar style to his own, writing in 1958 that Ford had a “good curve, good control, [a] changeup, [and an] occasional sneaky fast ball.
In 1955, Ford led the American League in complete games and games won; in 1956 in earned run average and winning percentage; in 1958, in earned run average; and in both 1961 and 1963, in games won and winning percentage. Ford won the Cy Young Award in 1961; he likely would have won the 1963 AL Cy Young, but this was before the institution of a separate award for each league, and Ford could not match Sandy Koufax’s numbers for the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League (NL). Ford would also have been a candidate in 1955, but this was before the award was created.
Some of Ford’s totals were depressed by Yankees’ manager Casey Stengel, who viewed Ford as his top pitching asset and often reserved his ace left-hander for more formidable opponents such as the Tigers, Indians, and White Sox. When Ralph Houk became the manager in 1961, he promised Ford that he would pitch every fourth day, regardless of the opponent; after exceeding 30 starts only once in his nine seasons under Stengel, Ford had 39 in 1961. His first 20-win season, a career-best 25-4 record, and the Cy Young Award ensued, but Ford’s season was overshadowed by the home run battle between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. As a left-hander with an excellent pick-off move, Ford was also deft at keeping runners at their base: He set a record in 1961 by pitching 243 consecutive innings without allowing a stolen base.
In May 1963, after pitching a shutout, Ford announced he had given up smoking. He said, “My doctor told me that whenever I think of smoking, I should think of a bus starting up and blowing the exhaust in my face.