The Yankees will head into Game 5 of tonight’s ALDS with heavy hearts. The team announced today that franchise icon and baseball Hall of Famer Whitey Ford has passed away at the age of 91.
A ten-time All-Star and the 1961 American League Cy Young winner, Ford stood as one of the last remaining members of a star-studded Yankees dynasty from the 1950s and 1960s. Ford missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons while serving in the military but took home six World Series rings as a member of the club — including World Series MVP honors for a 1961 series in which he hurled 14 shutout innings with just six hits and one walk allowed.
Ford, born and raised in New York City, spent all 16 of his big league seasons with his hometown Yankees, posting a sub-3.00 ERA in a dozen of them. He finished second in 1950 Rookie of the Year voting, and by the time he retired in 1967, he’d compiled a stellar 236-106 record with a lifetime 2.75 ERA and 1956 strikeouts in 3170 1/3 innings pitched.
The “Chairman of the Board” also racked up 146 postseason frames in his career, and his 2.71 ERA in that time was a near-mirror image of his regular season efforts. Ford twice led the league in ERA (1956 and 1958) and in shutouts (1958 and 1960), and he paced the American League in wins three times as well (1955, 1961, 1963). He topped 20 wins in two different seasons, including a 25-4 season in 1961 that saw him lead the Majors not only in victories but in starts (39) innings pitched (283).
Ford’s legacy with the club will forever be commemorated at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park, where his iconic No. 16 is retired among the organization’s all-time greats. Ford and lifelong teammate Mickey Mantle were inducted into Cooperstown together in the summer of 1974. No list of the best lefties — or simply the best pitchers, for that matter — in the game’s history would be complete without Ford’s inclusion.
We at MLB Trade Rumors join those throughout baseball mourning the loss of a genuine icon and extend our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Ford.