World News – US – Whitey Ford, legendary New York Yankees pitcher known as « Slick » – obituary


Whitey Ford, who died at the age of 91, was one of baseball’s greatest pitchers; he spent his entire career with the New York Yankees, winning the World Series six times He had the best winning percentage of any pitching team in the 20th century, and when Yogi Berra died in 2015, The New York Times reported that Ford was now « the greatest living Yankee »

Edward Charles Ford was born October 21, 1928 in Manhattan, moving to Queens with his family at the age of five; he attended Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades

He joined the Yankees in 1947 as an amateur and was first cultivated in the minor leagues, where he acquired the nickname « Whitey » for his light blonde hair

He began his Major League career in New York City in 1950, and at the end of his first season was named Rookie of the Year, winning nine straight games as the Yankees reached the World Series (pitchers start rotational games, usually played once every four games or so) He won game four of best of seven series to score a clean sweep over the Philadelphia Phillies

During the Korean War he served in the US Army, returning for the 1953 season – and the Yankees’ Big Three, Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat, became the ‘Big Four’

Ford would earn the nickname « Chairman of the Board » for his composure under pressure He was also known as « Slick, » thanks to an epithet given to him and his teammates Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle by Yankees manager Casey Stengel: he called them « Whiskey Slicks » for their love of New York nightlife Ford would title his 1987 autobiography Slick

The Whiskey Slicks once spent the evening drinking with a famous sumo wrestler on a tour of Japan They thought it would be fun to hurl insults at the wrestler, who kept nodding and smiling At the end of the evening he said: « Thank you very much for a beautiful evening », in pristine English

A left-hander, Ford was not the most powerful of launchers, relying more on cunning, varying his deliveries and exercising precise control; Casey Stengel has said Ford is the man he will always turn to if he absolutely needs to win a game

Whitey Ford embodied the ruthless efficiency of the Yankees, with whom he won the World Series in 1950, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961 and 1962; he also made five losing appearances

His best year was 1961, when he was 25-4 win-lose, and won the Cy Young award for best pitcher, although the season was dominated for many observers by the famous battle at home between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris

Ford was also an expert in the art of keeping runners at their base: he set a record in 1961 by pitching 243 consecutive innings without allowing a stolen base. Over his career, he won 236 games and no ‘lost only 106, a winning percentage of 690

In retirement, he admitted to having occasionally tampered with the ball during his career, sometimes using the diamond on his wedding ring or a sharp buckle on his shin guard, and sometimes with mud But he insisted:  » I didn’t start cheating until late in my career, when I needed something to help me survive « 

After his playing days, Ford briefly opened the restaurant and made some comments He and Mantle were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974 « He was the best pitcher I have ever seen and the biggest competitor, ”Mantle said of his friend

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Whitey Ford, New York Yankees, Pitcher, American League, World Series

World News – United States – Whitey Ford, legendary New York Yankees pitcher known as « Slick » – obituary



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