The New York Yankees mourn the passing of Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford -- one of the greatest players to ever put on the pinstripes -- who passed away peacefully at age 91 at his home in Lake Success, New York, surrounded by his wife of 69 years, Joan, son, Eddie, and daughter-in-law, Cathi, while watching last night’s Yankees game.
Ford, a New York native who grew up a Yankees fan, was born in Manhattan on Oct. 21, 1928, and moved with his family to Queens as a young child. Known as the “Chairman of the Board,” he was a 10-time All-Star (and three-time AL starting pitcher) over 16 Major League seasons (1950, ’53-67).
The left-hander played his entire career in pinstripes and is the Yankees’ all-time wins leader with a lifetime record of 236-106. Three times he paced the AL in victories (18 in 1955, 25 in 1961, 24 in 1963) and he twice led his league in ERA (2.47 in 1956, 2.01 in 1958) and shutouts (7 in 1958 and 4 in 1960). He missed two prime years of his career while serving in the army during the 1951 and 1952 seasons.
A member of six Yankees World Series championship teams (1950, ’53, ’56, ’58, ’61-62) and 11 pennant winners, he still holds many World Series records, including those for wins (10), consecutive scoreless innings (33.0) and strikeouts (94).
In 1974, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame alongside teammate Mickey Mantle, and his No.16 was retired at Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium.
“Whitey’s name and accomplishments are forever stitched into the fabric of baseball’s rich history. 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,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner.
“Whitey was New York tough. When you couple that with his dedicated service to our country, a deep love for the only team he ever played for, six World Championships and a genuine personality and charisma that showed throughout his life, it’s no wonder he endeared himself as a legend to generations of Yankees fans everywhere.
“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.”
In franchise history, Ford ranks first in wins (236), innings pitched (3,170.1) and shutouts (45), tied for first in games started (438), second in strikeouts (1,958), third in winning percentage (.690, min: 100 decisions), fourth in games pitched (498), fifth in ERA (2.75) and tied for sixth in complete games (156).
In 1961, he had his signature season, anchoring the Yankees’ pitching staff on one of the most dominant teams of all-time and earning the AL Cy Young Award with a 25-4 (.862) record, 3.21 ERA and 11 complete games in 283.0 innings pitched. He also won the World Series MVP Award that year with a 2-0 record and 14.0 scoreless innings pitched in the Yankees’ 4-games-to-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds as the starting pitcher in Games 1 and 4.
The Yankees organization extends its deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, children, Sally Ann and Eddie, his eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and his entire extended family. Ford’s other son, Thomas, passed away in 1999.