Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Whitey Ford

Birthday greetings go out today the New York Yankees great and Baseball Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who turns 87 on this date.

In doing some research earlier this year for a SABR presentation, I came across some remarkable information on Whitey Ford.  Nothing that was new or previously unknown, but the passage of time, and the proliferation "Post-Season" baseball stats that now inundate us from the Fox and TBS broadcast booths, has caused some of the records of Whitey Ford to recede in memory, but they are nonetheless remarkable still.

By any measure, Whitey Ford had a remarkable career.  Sixteen seasons, all with the Yankees, a 236-106 record with a career ERA of 2.75.  Ford totaled 156 complete games, 45 shut outs, and had eleven seasons where he pitched at least 200 innings.  Ford pitched on eleven Yankees teams that won American League pennants, and six of those teams won the World Series, and it is Ford's remarkable performance in those eleven Series that I want to note today.

It has now been fifty-one years since Ford pitched on the Fall Classic, and it should be noted that Whitey Ford STILL holds the World Series records for....

Games Started - 22
Innings Pitched - 146
Wins - 10
Losses - 8
Strike Outs - 94
Walks - 34

He also pitched three shut outs in the World Series, which ties him for second place in that all-time category.

When a great athlete lives a long time, he may sometimes be forgotten as the people who saw them play get older and older and fewer and fewer.  New stars come along, and the mists of history obscure past heroes.  However, as we get ready to watch the World Series that will begin next week, let's not forget the stars of the past, and Whitey Ford, was surely one of the biggest of those stars.

Happy birthday!

Game Six, 1960, Forbes Field

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