Hall of fame baseball pitcher
born Charles Edward Ford in New York on October 21, 1928. He spent his entire career with the New York Yankees
and made his major league debut on July 1, 1950 in a rather inauspicious relief appearance against the Boston Red Sox
. However, great things were soon to come for "The Chairman of the Board" as he became known. He proceeded to win nine of his first 10 decisions that year and was the winning pitcher in game 4 of the World Series
against the Philadelphia Phillies
Ford missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons due to the Korean War but came back strong in 1953 posting an 18-6 mark and leading the Yankees to another World Championship. Whitey's win total during the 1950's was somewhat hampered by the fact that manager Casey Stengel liked to pitch him on 4 days rest which was rather unorthodox for that particular time.
Stengel was fired following the Yankees loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1960 World Series and was replaced by Ralph Houk. Houk opted to use Ford in a more traditional 4 man rotation and the result in 1961 was one of the greatest years ever for any pitcher: a 25-4 won-loss record, 39 starts and 283 innings pitched. Almost as impressive was his 1963 mark of 24-7 and an ERA of 2.74. Unfortunately he was bested by Sandy Koufax in the World Series that year as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Yankees in four games. In 1964, he went 17-6 but once again the Yankees lost the Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. During the 1960, 1961 and 1962 fall classics, Ford pitched an amazing 33 consecutive scoreless innings.
Ford's decline seemed to coincide with the disastrous years when CBS owned the Yankees and he posted three fairly mediocre years before retiring after the 1967 season. His career stats are 236 wins, 106 losses, and a 2.75 Earned Run Average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974, the same year as his teammate Mickey Mantle. Amazing as all his stats were, he never pitched a no-hitter.
Today, Ford operates Whitey Ford's Cafe, an eatery located at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York and still makes occasional appearances at Yankee Stadium.