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by Harold Friend
Denny Kewsinitch has rooted for Whitey Ford ever since he signed his autograph book in front of the real Yankee Stadium at the end of the 1950 season. Denny considers Whitey to be one of the top clutch pitchers of all time.
Whitey Ford was a great clutch pitcher, who was instrumental in the New York Yankees winning 11 pennants and six World Champions from 1950-64.
Whitey missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons, serving the causes of freedom during the Korean conflict, or else he would have played on eight World Champions, since the Yankees won the World Series both of those years.
Ford in 1950
Without the Sporting News' Rookie of the Year, who was Whitey Ford, the Yankees would not have won the 1950 pennant. After joining the third place Yankees on July 1, Ford won his first nine decisions.
The Yankees edged out the Detroit Tigers by a margin of three games. Ford finished with a 9-1 record. Do you think he was an important addition?
In his first World Series start, facing the Philadelphia Phillies, Whitey had the chance to end it.
The little lefty came within one out of pitching a complete game shut out, but left fielder Gene Woodling misplayed Andy Seminick's fly ball. Willie Jones, who had singled and moved to second when Ford hit Del Ennis, scored.
Allie Reynolds struck out Stan Lopata to end the game.
Whitey Returns From Defending Our Freedoms
When Whitey returned in 1953, he led the Yankees' staff with 18 wins.
On May 10, in a game against the Yankees' chief rival, the Cleveland Indians, an early season game that was considered crucial, young Whitey Ford demonstrated how great he could be.
Before a crowd of 55,459 fans, Ford held the hard-hitting Tribe to an infield single as the Yankees won, 7-0.
Leading off the sixth inning, Indians' pitcher Early Wynn worked the count to 2-2. He swung at Ford's next delivery, which was a low curve ball. The ball trickled down the third base line.
Gil McDougald attempted to bare hand the ball as he raced in from third base, but he failed to pick up the ball, and Wynn had a hit.
The Great Brooklyn Dodgers
The Yankees met Brooklyn in the 1953 World Series. The National League Champions had scored 955 runs, hit 208 home runs, and batted .285 during the season.
Ford started the fourth game and was soundly trounced, lasting only one inning in a 7-3 defeat.
In 1955, the teams met again. Whitey beat Don Newcombe to win the Series opener. Yes, it was the game in which Jackie Robinson, according to Yogi Berra, was caught stealing home, but was incorrectly ruled safe.
The Yankees were one game away from elimination when Ford started the sixth game.
Don't give me any of this "Ford never started an 'ultimate' game" garbage. Is it an "ultimate" game when your team is one game away from elimination? It sure is.
Ford allowed only a fourth inning run as the Yankees beat Karl Spooner, 5-1, to tie the Series.
The following season, the Yankees and Dodgers met once again. Brooklyn won the first two games at home.
Only one team, the 1955 Dodgers, had ever lost the first two games of the World Series and had come back to win.
Whitey Ford started and won the third game, 5-3. The Yankees beat Brooklyn in seven.
In 1957, Ford opened the World Series and beat Warren Spahn, 3-1. In pivotal Game Five, Whitey matched Lew Burdette, pitch for pitch, but Jerry Coleman misplayed a ground ball hit by slow-footed Joe Adcock with runners at the corners at two outs.
Coleman failed to charge Adcock's slow ground ball. Eddie Mathews scored the game's only run when Adcock beat Coleman's late throw to first base. Jerry apologized after the game, but it was another clutch, vintage Whitey Ford performance.
The Greatest World Series Pitching Streak
Baseball fans still marvel at Ford's next four World Series starts. He shut out the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates twice, shut out the 1961 Cincinnati Reds in Game One, and was shutting them out again in the fourth game when he was forced to leave with an ankle injury.
Whitey Ford had eclipsed Babe Ruth's most cherished record when he strung together 33 and one-third scoreless World Series innings.
Whitey Ford has won the most World Series games of any pitcher (10).
Whitey Ford has started the most World Series games (22).
Whitey Ford has started the most World Series' openers (8).
Whitey Ford has pitched the most World Series innings (146).
Whitey Ford has the most strikeouts of any pitcher who has pitched in the World Series (94).
Does anyone still think that Whitey Ford never pitched an "ultimate" game?
By JOSEPH M. SHEEHAN. (1953, May 13). 57,440 SEE BOMBERS WIN NIGHT GAME, 7-0 :Ford Misses No-Hitter Against Indians on Infield Single as Yanks Add to Lead. New York Times (1923-Current file),35. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 84401683).