MLB Hall of Famer Whitey Ford

When you think of the history New York Yankees, the most storied franchise in baseball history, most fans will immediately think about the long line of sluggers and great hitters, with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter leading the way. When you think of the great Yankee pitchers, it’s hard to come up with a list that matches the hitters, but one name that always jumps out is Whitey Ford.

Most baseball fans recognize Ford as a Hall of Fame pitcher, but some of his accomplishments still don’t get the attention they deserve given the notoriety of teammates like Mickey Mantle. For example, with 236 wins, Ford is the all-time leader in wins in a Yankee uniform. His first 20-win season came in 1961 when he finished 25-4 record and won the Cy Young Award. But that’s also the season when the entire nation was glued to the home run chase between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

You don’t have to explain this to die-hard Yankee fans however, as Ford was the best pitcher on one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history. In two separate stretches he pitched game one of the World Series four years in a row! Overall he was 10-8 after 22 starts World Series starts. Nobody has won or started more World Series games.

When you look at his career, there are a couple of fascinating things that jump out. Ford has the best all-time winning percentage (.690) among all pitchers with at least 300 career decisions. Ford had a lifetime ERA of 2.75 and his worst ERA was 3.24. Since the advent of the Live Ball Era in 1920, Ford’s lifetime ERA is the lowest. One interesting record involved his excellent move to first base, as he set a record in 1961 for not allowing a stolen base over 243 consecutive innings.

Ford served in the Korean War, so he was a veteran like many of the greats from the 40s, 50s and 60s. He once joked, “Army life was rough. Would you believe it, they actually wanted me to pitch three times a week.”

As a member of those iconic Yankee teams with greats like Mantle, Ford will always be beloved by Yankee fans. For them he’ll always be the Chairman of the Board. But he’s also one of the greatest left handed pitchers in history.

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Baseball’s Most Controversial MVP Winners

In the wake of Cardinals’ first basemen Albert Pujols winning the NL MVP Award despite his team finishing fourth in the NL Central, has ranked baseball’s most controversial MVP winners of all-time.

Dennis Eckersley#3 Dennis Eckersley, 1992, AL MVP
Eckersley, the prototype one-inning closer, pitched 80 innings on the year. Frank Thomas, with a .978 OPS, played 1424 innings for the White Sox that season. Did Eckersley contribute more to his team in those 80 innings than Thomas did in nearly 18 times as many? Or Kirby Puckett, league leader in hits and total bases and a Gold Glove centerfielder? Or teammate Mark McGwire, who had 42 homers and 104 RBIs with an OPS of .970 and won a Gold Glove as well? Closers are valuable – just ask Mets fans – but they’re disproportionately rewarded for how little they actually work.

#1 Joe DiMaggio, 1947 AL MVP
While DiMaggio’s victory over Ted Williams in 1941 is defensible, this one is not.

How do you win the league Triple Crown without also being the MVP? Were DiMaggio’s intangible contributions so much greater than Ted’s superior performance in batting, slugging, on-base, hits, doubles, home runs, runs, and RBIs?

Williams finished one single point behind DiMaggio in the voting, and one sportswriter refused even to list Williams on his ten-man ballot (though it was not a Boston sportswriter, as Williams charged in his autobiography My Turn At Bat; the man Williams named did not vote that year). Stranger still, Williams only received three first-place votes (worth 14 points each) out of twenty-four, while DiMaggio received eight, no doubt reflecting New York’s pennant-winning season and Boston’s lackluster one. Strangest of all are the two first-place votes cast for Philadelphia Athletics shortstop Eddie Joost, a good glove man who batted .206 for the season.

Boston fans probably believe that Hank Steinbrenner was in on the 1947 AL MVP scandal considering they think he runs hell itself.

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