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Elephant Rumblings: Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame pitcher, dies at 91

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MLB news roundup

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New York Yankees Photo by Louis Reqeuna/MLB via Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

Since our last Elephant Rumblings on Friday, the baseball world lost two more Hall of Famers.

Most recently, on Sunday night, legendary second baseman Joe Morgan died at age 77, at his home in Danville, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Slusser notes a nerve condition as the official cause of death. I’m going to prepare a separate post about Morgan, who has strong A’s connections. (Update: Here’s the Morgan post.)

In this post, let’s double back to the end of last week. On Thursday, longtime New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford died at age 91, the team announced. Ford had been battling Alzheimer’s disease, reports ESPN.

Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford spent his entire 16-year career with the Yankees from 1950-67, minus two years of military service during the Korean War. The left-hander earned eight All-Star berths and won the Cy Young in 1961, when he went 25-4 and led the majors with 283 innings. Overall he won 236 games with a 2.75 ERA, good for a lifetime ERA+ of 133 and around 54 WAR on both scales.

While those numbers are strong, Ford’s legacy is even bigger in the postseason. He won six World Series with the Yankees, in ‘50, ‘53, ‘56, ‘58, ‘61, and ‘62, earning MVP honors in ‘61 with 14 shutout innings over two starts. He played in 11 total Fall Classics, missing out only twice in his first 13 seasons. In 22 starts there he went 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 146 innings, and those 10 wins are still an all-time World Series record.

The New York native, nicknamed the Chairman Of The Board, is considered one of the all-time greats in Yankees history, which of course is a lofty bar considering the names that have donned pinstripes over the decades. Read more from Bill Madden at the New York Daily News.

Since the beginning of September, five Hall of Famers have passed away: Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ford, and Morgan.

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The Tampa Bay Rays took Game 1 of the ALCS, over the Houston Astros. Blake Snell out-dueled Framber Valdez, and the score stayed low because they were playing in real MLB conditions in San Diego, and not at noon in Los Angeles with the ball flying like they were using aluminum bats. Read more about the game from the recaps at DRaysBay or The Crawfish Boxes.

Monday LCS schedule (all times PT):

  • ALCS G2: Astros at Rays, 1:07 p.m. on TBS
  • NLCS G1: Braves at Dodgers, 5:08 p.m. on Fox

Rays vs. Braves would probably be the most fun for A’s fans, and also the biggest middle finger to the TV networks. On the other hand, at least a Dodgers vs. Astros matchup could offer national revenge for 2017, though it could also backfire if Houston wins without cheating.

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