Ford, Whitey (1928—)

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Ford, Whitey (1928—)

Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford was the dominating left-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees from 1950-67, a 17-year period that coincided with the team's greatest success. Manager Casey Stengel nicknamed Ford "Slick," with good reason: Ford, born and raised in New York, was a city slicker who often relied on guile—and perhaps a scuffed ball on the mound—and liked to take a drink now and then. "The Chairman of the Board," as he was known, chalked up a career record of 236-106, the highest winning percentage for any twentieth-century pitcher, and came to hold a nearly unsurpassable World Series record for wins, strikeouts, and consecutive scoreless innings. Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin constituted a New York trio in the 1950s that shared a public passion for baseball, drinking, and women. They did much to establish the image of the baseball player as an overgrown boy: silly, crude, and outrageous, but basically harmless.

—Jon Sterngass

Further Reading:

Ford, Whitey, and Phil Pepe. Slick: My Life in and Around Baseball. New York, William Morrow, 1987.