Archive for November, 2020

Good bye to the Chairman

November 24, 2020

Whitey Ford

During all the problems developing in my life I failed to note here the loss of “The Chairman of the Board.” Whitey Ford died recently. He was the last great link to the New York Yankee dynasty of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Of the great pitchers of my youth, Ford was unique. He was the only one in the American League. Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and Juan Marichal were all National Leaguers. And before them so were Warren Spahn and Don Newcombe. I really don’t remember Bob Lemon and Early Wynn was always, to me, an afterthought. Ford, on the other hand, was impossible to miss. Back in the mid-to late 1950s there were two games on Saturday, one on CBS, the other on NBC. You could almost guarantee the Yankees would be on one game. That meant your chances of seeing Ford work were pretty good.

He thrived under two managers who used him very differently. Casey Stengel, his 1950s manager, tended to hold Ford for big games rather than establish him in something like a modern rotation. Ralph Houk, on the other hand, put him in the rotation and Ford began putting up “ace” numbers (wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, etc.) and eventually picked up an early Cy Young Award (1961-back when there was only one award, not one in each league).

He was also unique in another way. The Dodgers were are great team in the 1960s because they had Drysdale and Koufax. The same was true for the Cardinals and Gibson. Marichal was part of a trio (Mays, McCovey) that made the Giants contenders. Ford, on the other hand, was part of a machine that spewed talent in every direction. That made him, in some ways, less renowned. He was just part of the Yankees. That’s kind of a shame, because he was more than “just part” of the best team of his era.

He made the Hall of Fame in 1974, along with Mickey Mantle (who overshadowed Ford because he Mantle). Yogi Berra was already enshrined there. It was a fitting conclusion to his career.

So adios to Whitey Ford, who, as “Chairman of the Board,” had one of the great nicknames of the era. RIP.

Finally

November 23, 2020

Well, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. In my defense, it’s been a lousy couple of months. So bear with me a moment.

First, my wife ended up in the hospital (non-Covid) which scared the heck out of me. Now she’s back home, well, and the normal pain-in-the-neck she usually is on a given day. My health took a tumble for a while, but I’m back to something like normal; at least what passed for normal for me. Then the Great Central Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2020 hit. We took major damage to the trees, the fence is a disaster, a water main broke, and the power was out for a week (along with the WiFi).

The power went out Monday night about 20 minutes after the Senate confirmed the latest Supreme Court Justice. The Senate Minority Leader warned us that confirming her would lead to disaster. Guess he was right (at least in the short term). Worse was that the power was still out on Tuesday night and I couldn’t find the World Series on a battery operated radio. I had to text my son the next morning to find out the Dodgers finally won one.

I suppose that’s just as well. Had I watched the game I might have jinxed the Bums, or worse, had a heart attack when they actually won the Series. After all, I’ve deteriorated in 32 years. But now at least I can tell my son the Twins fan that my guys have won as many times in his lifetime as his guys (2). I’m still looking to find the game on MLB network and will at some point.

Now Clayton Kershaw has a ring. Good for him. It’s nice to see him get the proverbial monkey off his back. I’ve never looked up the origin of that cliche, and will have to at some point. Now, if he can just win two more he can finally be compared to that other Dodger lefty whose last name begins with a “K.” And it was nice to see, in the age of social consciousness, Dave Roberts win the World Series as a manager.

I also missed commenting on the death of both Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford. They were two of the great pitchers of my youth and it reminds me of my aging. Now only Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax remain of the great pitchers before I left High School. I read on something that the Hall of Fame lost six members already this year. With a month and a half to go, let’s hope that number doesn’t change.