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Whitey Ford, legendary Yankees pitcher, 91, passes away

Whitey Ford, Yankees

New York Yankees legend and Hall of Fame starting pitcher Whitey Ford died at the age of 91 on Friday.

Ford was one of the giants of the Yankees dynasty in the 1950’s, spending the entirety of his 16-year career in New York and amassing a 236-106 record.

The left-hander had seen a noted decline in health in the last few years, though he was still very visible to Yankee fans (via Bob Herzog and Mark Herrmann of Newsday):

As the last remaining icon from the Yankees’ dynasty era, which encompassed much of the 20th century, Ford was on the field at Yankee Stadium for the 2016 Old-Timers’ Day, wearing his familiar No. 16 pinstriped jersey. Despite needing help to get to his seat, Ford took his place among living legends in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame induction later that summer.

In honor of the final year at the old Yankee Stadium, Ford was one of four Yankees Hall of Famers who threw ceremonial first pitches at the 2008 All-Star Game in the Bronx. He was there for the last game at his old digs that September.

Ford immediately asserted himself as one of the top arms in baseball in his rookie year, going 9-1 with a 2.81 ERA during the 1950 season.

But, like many other players in his era, Ford’s career would be sidetracked by military duty. He missed the next two seasons to serve in the Korean War, and the absence could just as easily have put his career on hold.

Instead, Ford would return to form immediately after returning from the Army. He won at least 16 games in each of the next four seasons.

Ford would later cement his status as an all-time great in 1961, winning both the American League Cy Young Award and the World Series MVP.

This year has seen its share of unfortunate deaths in the MLB community, with Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson also passing away in recent months.

However, Whitey Ford will live on forever as one of the greatest players in Yankees history.