By BRYCE ADDISON M. PINEDA
A wave of sadness befalls the New York Yankees as they experience the loss of one of the most accomplished players throughout their history.
On October 8, Major League Baseball (MLB) lost one of its most prominent players, Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford, ace of the New York Yankees. Having a career spanning from 1950 to 1967, he was proclaimed dead at his Long Island, New York residence at the age of 91.
His death was initially announced in a heartfelt message by the Yankees team on Twitter, calling him “one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber,” though the exact cause of death was still not disclosed to the public.
Earning the nickname “Chairman of the Board” for his role as a reliable ace in one of the country’s most successful teams during his time, Ford still holds the record for most wins by a Yankee and by a pitcher in the history of MLB to this day with a lifetime record of 236–106.
Additionally, he led New York to the American League and won six World Series titles, another astonishing feat and all-time high record never having been broken until this day.
Ford’s passing was the most recent in a string of deaths occurring in the realm of baseball legends including Al Kaline, Tom Seaver, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson that have been happening since last April, with the latter three occurring less than two months ago.
The death of this ten times All Star has truly made waves for players and long-time followers of Major League Baseball alike. The gloom and impact of this impact can be seen in the world of sports through making people realize that life is short and unifying different people through memories of the sports star.
Immediately after the Yankees’ announcement of the legendary pitcher’s death, numerous fans expressed their condolences to him by sharing their stories of how he had been a source of inspiration for them and the encounters they had with Ford.
It was not only the fans who showed their respects to the sports star. Even the Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner issued a statement about how proud he had been of Ford’s achievements, being one of the most crucial players in the sport’s history and cementing himself as a legend among fans of the team.
“[Ford]’s name and accomplishments are forever stitched into the fabric of baseball’s rich history. He was a treasure, and one of the greatest Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes. It is no wonder he endeared himself as a legend to generations of Yankees fans everywhere.”
Steinbrenner’s words truly show how impactful Ford’s work has been towards the sports industry. He was able to cement his position among the greatest pitchers to have ever been on the field, leaving a lasting mark and capturing the attention of generations of Yankees fans.
After Ford’s death, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer expressed his sentiments about being Ford’s friend and how the All Star encouraged him to become a pitcher.
“What an honor to call [Ford] my friend. [I had] great memories watching him as a kid [and he] made me want to become a [part of the] big leagues.”
Ford’s unmatched skill at his craft continues to inspire a new generation of baseball players and his death has truly left a downcast on the people he had served as a model towards.
Even Ford’s competitors in the league shared their woes regarding his passing.
Tim McCarver, one of Ford’s opponents during the 1964 World Series, expressed admiration towards the deceased pitcher. “He had an elegance about him on the mound, a regal presence,” McCarver said. “That made an impression, believe me.” This truly demonstrates how widespread Ford’s impact had been towards his fellow athletes, no matter which team they may be representing.
Although the world of Major League Baseball has seen the loss of yet another one of the greats, legends never truly die as Ford’s legacy still lives on. His spirit still continues to inspire and ignite a fire in the hearts of professional baseball players and aspiring pitchers alike.