Whitey Ford went from Astoria to Cooperstown 1

The childhood home of Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford, 31-53 34 St., Astoria, c. 1940s.

Edward Charles Ford was born in New York City on Oct. 21, 1928, the only child of James and Edna Ford. They lived on 66th Street in Manhattan.

When he was 5 they moved to an apartment building in Astoria. His father worked for Con Ed and played on the company baseball team. He was a partner in the Ivy Room, an Astoria bar.

Ed Ford played ball in empty lots and on the streets with a broomstick and a rubber Spaldeen ball. He could have gone to William Cullen Bryant High School on 31st Ave. in 1942 but chose the Manhattan School of Aviation Trades because it had a baseball team and Bryant did not. Ford had no interest in becoming an aviation mechanic, according to C. Paul Rogers III writing for the Society for American Baseball Research.

Originally a first baseman, he later alternated between first base and pitching. He excelled on the mound. Yankee scout Paul Krichell signed him in 1947 with a $7,000 bonus and he was sent to the minor league team in Binghamton, managed by former Yankee Lefty Gomez.

Not remembering Ford’s name, Gomez kept calling him “Blondie” or “Whitey.” By the time he made the Yankees in 1950, “Whitey” had stuck. He also was later known as the “Chairman of the Board.” He married his childhoodsweetheartin 1951 at St. Patrick’s Church in Long Island City. Lefty Whitey Ford, widely considered the best Yankees pitcher ever, was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

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