No. 181 Whitey Ford (Number 41 Pitcher)

I’m glad Whitey Ford made it to my Hall of Fame even though he barely topped the 750 mark. In a way he is overrated and underrated, which causes a lot of discussion in the Sabermetric community. They point out that Ford is overrated because even though he had a winning percentage of .690 he that is only that high because the Yankees were so good when Ford pitched for them. There is a lot of truth in that statement.

Whitey’s defenders say Whitey is also underrated because Stengel would often save Whitey for their closest competitors, so he pitched against better teams more then the rest of the Yankee staff. That is also true. I have seen studies that shown Stengel did this on a consistent basis. In fact, Chris Jaffee in his managers’ book said that Stengel was one of the leaders in this practice. However, what nobody argues is that Ford’s winning percentage overrates him in traditional statistics and his usage by Stengel underrates him in the new Sabermetrics statistics like WAR and Win Shares. So basically, I am underrating Whitey Ford with my ratings and so are other Sabermetric proponents. My problem is I lack the know how or the ambition to figure out how Ford should be rated. I don’t know why other sabermetric people don’t account for this (some might) but I think some don’t know or would admit there is a correction needed in the case of Whitey Ford.

The Yankees from 1949 to 1953 were led by 3 pitchers call the Big Three, Eddie Lopat (ranked 199th as pitcher), Allie Reynolds (ranked 245th as pitcher) and Vic Raschi (ranked 374th of the pitchers I rated). Raschi didn’t make my top 1,000 players. The three of them combined to lead the Yankees to 5 straight World Championships. Ford helped in the 1950 and 1953 seasons. He missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons because he was in the military. The thing was in 1954 and 1955 they faded away. In 1954 Whitey Ford became ace of the Yankees.

Now for the next 11 years Ford was the ace. Once in a while someone would have a better or as good of a season as Whitey, but Ford was the one always there. The Yankees won 9 pennants in those 11 years. As a side note Whitey was also a very good post season pitcher, being the first pitcher to win 10 games in the post season and breaking Babe Ruth’s record for consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series. No one was ever an ace for a team that won that many pennants in that many years. For this alone Whitey Ford should be in the Hall of Fame. His early seasons and least three years are just a bonus.

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