Whitey Ford, the Legendary Yankees Pitcher, Dead at 91
Whitey Ford, the longtime New York Yankees ace and World Series hero, died on Friday, October 9, at age 91.
The Yankees announced the death of Ford, who would have turned 92 on October 21. Nicknamed the “Chairman of the Board,” Ford pitched 16 seasons with the New York Yankees.
The team’s star pitcher while Mickey Mantle handled things at the plate, Ford won six World Series titles with the New York Yankees.
Whitey Ford died at age 91
Hours before the Yankees played the rival Tampa Bay Rays in a deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series, the team announced Whitey Ford’s passing.
“The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber,” the team tweeted. “He will be deeply missed.”
The Yankees did not announce a cause of death. In a tweet, the New York Daily News said Ford died from dementia.
One of the top pitchers in team history, Ford was a mainstay at Yankees events for decades. Even in his older age, Ford frequently appeared at the annual Old Timer’s Day celebration each summer.
The Yankees did not hold Old Timer’s Day this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Whitey Ford is a Yankees legend
Born in New York City, Ford debuted with the Yankees in July 1950. Ford went 236-106 with a 2.75 ERA and 1,956 strikeouts in 498 career games and 438 starts.
Ford’s 236 wins in a Yankees uniform are the most in team history.
Whitey Ford made 10 All-Star Games and won the Cy Young Award in 1961, a season when he went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA and 11 complete games. Teammate Roger Maris won the AL MVP Award that season with an MLB-record 61 home runs. Ford went 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 22 career postseason starts.
He won World Series MVP in 1961 when he didn’t allow a run in two starts against the Reds.
The crafty left-hander twice led baseball in ERA and had the sport’s most wins three times.
Ford missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons while serving in the Army during the Korean War. Ford was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
The Yankees retired Ford’s No. 16 on Aug. 3, 1974. Ford also received a Monument Park plaque in August 1987.
The baseball world is mourning Whitey Ford’s death
Whitey Ford’s death is the latest in a sad year for Major League Baseball.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement on Ford’s death.
“Whitey earned his status as the ace of some of the most memorable teams in our sport’s rich history. Beyond the Chairman of the Board’s excellence on the mound, he was a distinguished ambassador for our National Pastime throughout his life.”
The Yogi Berra Museum‘s official Twitter account tweeted it was “devastated” to hear of Ford’s death.
Whitey was so incredibly kind and caring, beyond being a legendary pitcher,” the museum tweeted. “This loss is immense. Here’s to you, the Chairman of the Board. We love you.”
Berra, Ford’s longtime teammate (and in 1964, his manager), died in September 2015.
Longtime Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti, of WFAN in New York, called Ford the “greatest pitcher in #Yankees history” on Twitter.
The Yankees announced tbey will wear patches with Ford’s No. 16 in Game 5 of the ALDS.
Because of MLB’s neutral-site postseason plan, the Yankees do not have a traditional home game until April 1, 2021. The Yankees have traditionally worn black armbands and/or patches on their uniforms to honor the deceased.
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