Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ford Breaks A Yankee Record

On Oct. 3, 1965 New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford notches win 232 to become the Yankees winningest pitcher in franchise history, surpassing Red Ruffing who had 231 wins in his career with the Yankees.

Ford would end his career with 236 wins, which is still the highest total for any pitcher in franchise history. Current Yankee Andy Pettite has 211 wins sporting the classic pin stripe uniform, which is good enough for third all-time in franchise history, behind only Ford and Ruffing.

Ford had a great career which lasted 16-seasons and saw him with the Yankees from start to finish.
He began his Major League Baseball career on July 1, 1950, with the Yankees and made a spectacular debut, winning his first nine decisions before losing a game in relief. Ford received a handful of lower-ballot Most Valuable Player votes despite throwing just 112 innings, and was voted the AL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News. (Walt Dropo was the Rookie of Year choice of the BBWAA.)

During the Korean War, in 1951 and 1952 Ford served in the Army. He rejoined the Yankees for the 1953 season, and the Yankee "Big Three" pitching staff became a "Big Four," as Ford joined Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat.

Eventually Ford went from the No. 4 pitcher on a great staff to the universally acclaimed No. 1 pitcher of the Yankees. He became known as the "Chairman of the Board" for his ability to remain calm and in command during high-pressure situations. He was also known as "Slick," a nickname given to him, Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle by manager Casey Stengel, who called them Whiskey Slicks.

Ford would rack up plenty of awards in his career including being named an All-Star 10-times, with four consecutive appearances from 1958-1961. He was a Cy Young Award winner in 1961, as well the Babe Ruth Award Winner, and World Series MVP in part of the six World Series titles Ford won as a member of the Yankees.

Ford would finish his career with 498 games under his belt, with 438 starts, totaling 236 wins and 106 losses with 10 saves, with a 2.75 lifetime ERA in 3,170.1 innings pitched. Ford totaled 1,956 strikeouts, while only allowing 1,086 walks, for an almost two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Over his career Ford also threw an amazing 156 complete games, with 45 shutouts.

Ford led the league in wins three times, with his highest single season total of wins coming in 1961 with 25. He also led the league in games started and innings pitched twice, in 1961 and 1963. With his highest single season totals of his career coming in 1961 for both with 39 and 283 respectively. Ford also led the league in shutouts twice, with his highest single season total of seven coming in 1958. Ford led the league in complete games once, with his highest single season total coming in 1955 and 1956, although in 1956 he did not lead the league in complete games.

The Yankees retired Ford’s iconic No. 16 jersey on Aug. 3, 1974. That same year he was inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 77.81 percent of the vote on the second ballot on which he appeared.