A legend lost. Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford, who helped the New York Yankees dominate in the 1950s and ‘60s, died on Thursday, October 8. He was 91.
The late pitcher’s family told the Associated Press that he died at his Long Island home. The cause was not immediately known.
“The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford,” the MLB team said in a statement via Twitter on Friday, October 9. “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.”
Ford was a left-hander who pitched in 1950 before taking a two-year break to serve in the United States Army during the Korean War. He returned to the Yankees in 1953 and remained with them until his retirement in 1967. During his career, he won a whopping 236 games and lost only 106.
The athlete’s accomplishments included 33 consecutive scoreless innings from 1960 to 1962 (which broke Babe Ruth’s record), 45 shutouts and 3,170 innings pitched.
Ford was on top of his game in the early 1960s, helping the Yankees win the 1961 and 1962 World Series and earning the World Series MVP Award in 1961. With Ford pitching, the team also won the championship series in 1950, 1953, 1956 and 1958.
“He was the best pitcher I ever saw and the greatest competitor,” Mickey Mantle once said. “Whitey won seven out of every 10 decisions and nobody in the history of baseball has ever done better than that.”
The Yankees retired the New York City native’s uniform number, 16, in 1974 and installed a plaque in his honor in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium in 1987. He was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
After his retirement, Ford worked as a broadcaster and opened Whitey Ford’s Café in Garden City, New York, which famously resembled the exterior of Yankee Stadium and had Yankees memorabilia inside. The restaurant closed less than a year after opening its doors.
Ford is survived by his wife, Joan, whom he married in 1951, son Eddie and daughter Sally Ann. The couple’s other son, Thomas, died in 1999.