Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford

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Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford, the ace of the mighty New York Yankees teams in the 1950s and ’60s. Ford died Thursday night at his Long Island home at the age of 91:

”This is one of the guys that’s a Mount Rushmore guy in the Yankee organization. The nickname, there’s just this legend of this larger-than-life Chairman of the Board. Obviously, a great pitcher. One of those guys that personifies this franchise’s greatness is Whitey, just the name itself, just the nickname itself. And I know he is beloved in this organization by so many people.” – Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

”When people talk about their list of the top five pitchers of all time, they always mention guys like Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux and others. They never say Whitey Ford. But they should. I know what he could do, I saw it.” – Former teammate and All-Star shortstop Tony Kubek.

”Today I was asked who’s my fav pitcher of all time. I’ve never been asked! It’s Whitey Ford. What an honor to call him my friend. … Great memories watching him as a kid, made me want to a big leaguer. – Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer on Twitter.

”I’ll be honored to wear that 16 on my chest, obviously, with just looking up a lot of things that he accomplished not only in his career, but his military service, as well. I have a lot of respect for what he accomplished.” – Yankees reliever Zack Britton. The team wore patches with Ford’s number on their uniforms Friday night for Game 5 of the AL Division Series against Tampa Bay.

”I was once on a program with Whitey, back in the early days of television. It was a dance contest. Me, Duke Snider, Whitey and another person, I think it was a friend of Red Schoendienst’s. They gave each of us a professional partner. Arthur Murray, the dance fellow, was the host and he said he wanted us to compete as hard as we did on the field. He said the prize was $1,000, which was big money in those days. Arthur walks away and Whitey says, `OK, whoever wins, let’s make it $250 apiece.’ We all agreed. Then Arthur comes back and says he’s going to sweeten the pot to $2,000, that he wants real competition. We all say OK. And as soon as he walks away, Whitey just says, `$500 each, boys.’ The funny thing is, Whitey wound up winning the contest.” – Longtime Brooklyn pitcher Carl Erskine, whose Dodgers often faced Ford and the Yankees in the World Series.

”Whitey’s name and accomplishments are forever stitched into the fabric of baseball’s rich history. He was a treasure, and one of the greatest of Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes. … Whitey was New York tough. When you couple that with his dedicated service to our country, a deep love for the only team he ever played for, six world championships, and a genuine personality and charisma that showed throughout his life, it’s no wonder he endeared himself as a legend to generations of Yankees fans everywhere.” – Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement.

”I remember a lot of conversations with Whitey just when he would come around. It seemed like I was always kind of scuffling a little bit and we would talk to him about where I was and handling the situation I was in and handling the pressure. And Whitey was just such a calming voice for me and just was always so encouraging to me, just great the humility he always showed and didn’t always like pump himself up. … Whitey was just great for me to have as a young Yankee coming up, and of course was just someone I looked to and wanted to be like him.” – Longtime Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, speaking on the YES Network.

”He was `The Chairman of the Board.’ He could do it all. He was a tremendous pitcher. He could hit and he could bunt. He was an excellent fielder and he had a great pickoff move.” – Former teammate and 1960 World Series MVP Bobby Richardson.

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