Ford ends stellar Yankees career
It was an outing that lasted just five batters over one full inning, consuming just a portion of the Yankees’ 9-4 loss to Detroit that day at Tiger Stadium.
But when Whitey Ford walked off the mound for the final time on May 21, 1967, it marked the end of an era – and the start of a countdown to Cooperstown.
Ford appeared in his 498th and final big league game on May 21, 1967, pitching just one inning. He allowed a lead-off double to Don Wert and a sacrifice fly to future Hall of Fame teammate Al Kaline before eventually retiring the side on a comebacker to the mound by Jim Northrup.
Ford then removed himself from the game due to ongoing shoulder discomfort – a circulatory condition he addressed with surgery in 1966. But the left shoulder never fully recovered.
Hall of Fame Membership
There is no simpler, and more essential, way to demonstrate your support than to sign on as a Museum Member.
For the little lefty, it marked the end of a career flush with success.
Ford retired with a record of 236-106, winning 69 percent of his decisions and setting a modern-era standard for pitchers with at least 150 victories.
His career earned-run average of 2.75 is the lowest of any retired modern-era starter with at least 1,000 innings pitched. He led the AL in ERA two times.
Ford won the 1961 Cy Young Award and was named to 10 All-Star Games.
In 16 big league seasons – all with the Yankees – Ford’s teams won 11 American League pennants and six World Series titles.
“Cool. Crafty. Nerves of steel,” said Mickey Mantle of his teammate. “That was Whitey.”
Ford was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974, entering the Hall the same year as Mantle.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum