RIP Whitey Ford, 1928-2020

10 02 2021

From one great World Series pitcher to another, unfortunately we lost a lot of Hall of Famers in 2020.

Edward Charles Ford was a great pitcher.  If you look at his stats, he was never viewed as dominant as some of the greats from the 50’s and 60’s.  Though I do think he gets a bit of a raw deal for two reasons.  First, he missed 2 years in his early career – when he was effectively at his prime – to the Korean War.  Unlike a number of hitters (Williams & Mays come to mind) – I don’t think that’s widely remembered about Ford.  Second, it’s believed that Casey Stengel tended to save him for the Yankees tougher matchups to make impact.  

Regardless of all that, with Whitey Ford – it was all about winning, and winning when it mattered most.  He holds the highest career winning percentage for pitchers with 200 wins – though Pedro Martinez was ahead of him briefly before his final season with the Mets, and Clayton Kershaw seems like he could pass him.  But winning 69% of your games is pretty insane.

And his World Series exploits were particularly notable.  He has won the most games (10) in the history of the Fall Classic.  Though he’s also lost (8) the most!  The Yankees won 6 titles and 11 AL pennants during his tenure as “Chairman of the Board”.  And he broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing World Series of consecutive scoreless innings pitched.  He pitched 2 complete game shutouts in the 1960 World Series.  This included a blowout game 6 that sent the Yankees to the incredible game 7 that ended in a Bill Mazeroski homer.  The next year, he helped the Yanks get back to the top of the baseball world against my Redlegs.  He started the Series off on the right foot with another CG-SHO (2-0), then won game 4 going 5 scoreless innings. 

That effort got him past Ruth’s mark, and he extended it another inning when the Yankees were back in the 1962 World Series against Mays’ Giants.  His streak actually ended on a squeeze bunt with 2 outs in the second inning that scored Mays from third.  The final tally was 33 & 2/3, and it hasn’t been reached since.  Side note – I had to check on Madison Bumgarner to be sure.  MadBum has given up 1 run in his 36 WS innings, but that run came in the middle of his 5 appearances.

As I’ve posted before – Ford is the subject of the favorite card I own.  I don’t talk about this blog much to people I know, but did send this post to my parents when he passed away.  This post probably says it as best as I can – Ford is my Dad’s baseball hero not mine.  But in many ways that makes him even more baseball royalty in my mind.

Rest in Peace, Whitey!


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