Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford, the New York Yankees’ winningest franchise pitcher, passed away at the age of 91 on Thursday night on his Long Island home.
His cause of death has not yet been announced.
Known as the pressure thriving and slick “Chairman of the Board” during many of his sixteen seasons throwing for the Bombers from 1950 to 1967, Ford’s accomplishments in pinstripes are fantasies to even the most outstanding pitchers of the modern day.
He was a six time World Series champion, 1961 Cy Young winner and World Series MVP, plus a ten time all star who put his major league career on hold to fight in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1951-1952.
The great number 16 also surpassed the consecutive scoreless World Series innings record previously held by Babe Ruth during the Bambino’s time with the Boston Red Sox at 33.
He also holds the the title for most consecutive World Series wins at 10 and total strikeouts in the Fall Classic at 94.
That’s along with the Yankees record for wins at 236, innings pitched at 3,170.1 and shutouts at 45 in addition a plethora of franchise marks.
A city boy through and through, Ford was born in Manhattan October 21, 1928 and grew up in Astoria, Queens, later graduating the Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades – so naturally the Yankees signed Whitey as an amateur free agent in 1947.
The lefty, fastball and curve-style pitcher had a particularly fond friendship with outfielder Mickey Mantle during his playing career and a similar rapport with manager Billy Martin.
It was fitting that both Whitey and the Mick were inducted into Cooperstown in 1974, Ford earning 77 percent of votes on his second ballot; he was immortalized in Monument Park on August 1, 1987.
Whitey briefly broadcasted for the Yankees upon his retirement from baseball, playing into a running joke that he and Mantle were ‘broke’ and needed jobs.
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
“He was a treasure, and one of the greatest of Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes. Beyond the accolades that earned him his rightful spot within the walls of the Hall of Fame, in so many ways he encapsulated the spirit of the Yankees teams he played for and represented for nearly two decades,” Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said upon the news of Ford’s death.
As fate would have it, he passed just two days after Deivi Garcia surpassed Ford as the Yankees youngest ever playoff starter on Tuesday.
“While there is comfort knowing Whitey was surrounded by his family at the time of his passing while watching his favorite team compete, this is a tremendous loss to the Yankees and the baseball community. We have lost our ‘Chairman of the Board,’ and we extend our deepest condolences to the entire Ford family.”
There are must win games and then there is Friday night’s winner take all ALDS Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays, now it’s time to take this one for Whitey.