Former Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford, who still holds the record for best winning percentage amongst Major League pitchers, died Thursday night at 91-years old.
Ford signed with the Yankees in 1947 straight out of high school and spent his entire sixteen-year career with the team. The left-hander had a career record of 236-106, with a (.690) winning percentage. He pitched the team to eleven American League pennants and six World Series championships during his tenure.
The Yankees’ star pitcher helped the team sweep Philadelphia in the World Series in 1950, before shipping off to serve in the Army during the Korean War for two years. He returned in time to rejoin the team for the 1953 season and win the Championship.
Ford went on to become the Yankees’ number one pitcher, and was dubbed the “Chairman of the Board” for his ability to remain calm and in control under high-pressure situations. Along with Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, Ford led the team to 10 American League pennants and five World Series titles over the next twelve years.
The left-hander retired in 1967 at age 38 after injuries to his throwing arm. In his memoir Slick: My Life in and Around Baseball, Ford admitted to scuffing and gouging balls in his declining years to maintain pitching advantage.
Ford died on Thursday in his Long Island home, he is survived by his wife Joan and two living children. His youngest son Thomas died in 1999.
The Yankees released a statement following Ford’s death. “The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford,” said the post. “Whitey spent his entire 16-year career as a Yankee. A 6x WS Champion and 10x All-Star, The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber. He will be deeply missed.”
The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. Whitey spent his entire 16-year career as a Yankee. A 6x WS Champion and 10x All-Star, The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber. He will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/2KDi4V9SeA
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 9, 2020