White Sox

White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

Today is one of my favorite days of the year; the day where the Hall of Fame results are announced. I’m all in favor of a big Hall; I enjoy celebrating the greatness of players, so the more, the merrier. Today we welcome four new members to Cooperstown. 

None of the four ever played for the White Sox, so there’s no White Sox highlights piece to write. However… what about notable games, moments or milestones where the White Sox intersect with one of the newly elected Hall of Famers? 

Below are nine of those.

September 12, 1987
By the time Edgar Martínez entered the game in the 6th inning (as a pinch runner for Jim Presley), Seattle was comfortably ahead by the score of 11-1. His first plate appearance came two innings later when he fouled out against Sox reliever Ray Searage. Welcome to the Majors, Mr. Martínez. It was his Major League debut.

August 4, 1991
The White Sox beat the Orioles 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel at New Comiskey Park. The difference in the score – just one run. The difference in the age of the starting pitchers – over 20 years. Charlie Hough (age 43 years, 211 days) tossed a complete game shutout. Mike Mussina (age 22 years, 239 days) took a tough loss… it was his Major League debut.
By the way, the lone run was a Frank Thomas solo homer in the 6th inning. The Big Hurt went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk against Mussina. This would become a theme. He homered more against Mussina (9 times) than any other pitcher throughout his Hall of Fame career.

July 4, 1995
The White Sox lost 4-1 against the Yankees on Independence Day. The lone run they scored was a John Kruk RBI single in the 9th inning off Yankees closer John Wetteland. The Yankee starter that day tossed 8 scoreless innings and struck out 11. It was the only 10+ strikeout performance of Mariano Rivera’s career.

May 2, 2003
Edgar Martínez went 2 for 4 with a walk against the White Sox in a 9-2 win at US Cellular Field. 
The second hit, a 6th inning single off Gary Glover, was the 2,000th hit of his MLB career.

April 11, 2004
The White Sox scored three runs in the top of the first inning in the Bronx off Yankees starter Mike Mussina.
It wasn’t enough. The New Yorkers clawed back and won the game 5-4. It was Mussina’s 200th career win.

July 16, 2006
Mariano Rivera became the 4th member of the 400-save club in a 6-4 win over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. It was the 11th and final time he had a save of at least 2 innings during the regular season (his first 2-inning save was also against the White Sox on August 14, 1996).

August 8, 2006
Paul Konerko, born in Providence, Rhode Island, set a monumental record on this day. With his 237th home run, he passed Gabby Hartnett for the all-time record for career home runs by players born in the smallest US state. The White Sox were playing the Yankees at home, and the record-setting blast handed Mariano Rivera a blown save, tying the game at 5 in the bottom of the 9th.

May 31, 2007
Mark Buehrle tossed a complete game two-hitter, walking none at the Rogers Centre, which was great except for two things: 
First, both hits were solo home runs. Second, opposing starter Roy Halladay allowed no runs in his seven innings. The Jays won 2-0 and Halladay earned career win number 100.

July 28, 2007
Speedster Jerry Owens played 129 career games – all with the White Sox. 
He also hit one career home run… a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 7th inning to break a scoreless tie. The pitcher? Roy Halladay. It would be the only two runs of a 2-0 White Sox win over the Blue Jays at US Cellular Field.

From baseball to stem cells, White Sox voice Ed Farmer had a story for everyone

NBC Sports Chicago

From baseball to stem cells, White Sox voice Ed Farmer had a story for everyone

Ed Farmer caught me completely off guard on a June afternoon at the ballpark.

“Last week I was studying stem cells at Harvard,” he said.

Excuse me?

I think that was my actual response.

Sometimes you didn’t know if Farmer was messing with you, but this time, he had a serious look on his face. He really was at Harvard looking at stem cells during a three-game series in Boston.

The White Sox broadcaster was the most interesting man I’ve ever met. He had an amazing ability to tell you a fascinating story on Monday and easily top it on Tuesday. He loved to talk. He loved his job. And he held onto the radio booth until he absolutely couldn’t. Sadly, Farmer passed away Wednesday night. He was 70.

I had the pleasure of working with Farmer in two different radio gigs over the last 11 years. The first was as a producer at 670 The Score, when I primarily worked in the studio during White Sox broadcasts, not at the ballpark. But Farmer genuinely cared who was helping with the broadcast and made a point of mentioning each producer and engineer by name multiple times during every game.

And when you made it out to the ballpark, he made you feel at home in the radio booth. I once brought my father up to the booth on his birthday. I was young and didn’t even know if it was allowed. Farmer talked to my dad like they had known each other for 40 years.

Years later, when I was hosting White Sox pre- and post-game shows on WGN Radio, I brought my son to a game. Farmer immediately directed him to the open chair next to him and my son sat between he and radio analyst Darrin Jackson for the entire half inning.

I came to realize over the years that Farmer’s hospitality was constant. It was common to walk into the booth in the fifth inning and weave your way through 10 people just to get to Ed and D.J. There was always food on the back table, usually some pastries or cake that Farmer had some connection to. And there was grape soda in the refrigerator that was pretty much the only thing off limits. I learned the hard way.

Farmer always had a story. He’d tell you about how Jerry Krause signed him or about some random fight he got into as a player. When I limped into the booth last April with a giant knee brace because of a pickup basketball game, I heard all about Farmer’s illustrious high school basketball career. I can’t verify it, but it sure sounded like he was a better basketball player than baseball player. We had a Catholic League connection/rivalry. He went to St. Rita. I went to St. Ignatius. Somehow, it always connected to Notre Dame.

Farmer had an amazing ability to start a story off the air in between innings and continue it up until the absolute last second he had to put his headset back on. He’d call three outs over however many minutes it took, and when that half inning was over, he’d put the headset down and continue the story like he had never been interrupted.

But Farmer also deeply cared about the broadcast. He’d spend hours before games telling stories, but he always had one eye on his scorebook, completely ready to take the microphone 10 minutes before first pitch. I got on his bad side once last season when my pre-game show ran long on a particularly newsy day at Guaranteed Rate Field. It didn’t matter. Clock discipline. Farmer held me accountable for being late.

Like any broadcaster with an ego, I was a little annoyed, but a few weeks later I learned Farmer hadn’t been feeling well. I was surprised because he was battling through it so well. He was still welcoming people to the booth – albeit maybe fewer than usual – and gutting his way through long days at the ballpark.

Farmer’s health issues have been well documented. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in 1990 at the age of 40. He was in renal failure and would have died had his brother, Tom, not donated one of his kidneys. Farmer was never afraid to talk about it. In fact, it was so important to him that he would often go back to Harvard, where his transplant was performed, and talk to patients.

Which brings us back to the stem cells. Farmer wasn’t a doctor, but he did want to go into medicine before choosing baseball. After his transplant, he was determined to learn everything he could about kidney disease. If you talked to him about it, he could easily make you think he was a doctor. And that’s why every short trip to Boston to play the Red Sox meant time spent at Harvard.

After 11 years in Major League Baseball as a player and three as a scout, Farmer called White Sox games on the radio for 28 years. And he would have done it for many more.

The radio booth at Guaranteed Rate Field was his home. And whenever baseball starts up again, that booth will be missing its dear friend Ed Farmer.

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White Sox pitcher and radio broadcaster Ed Farmer passes away

White Sox

White Sox pitcher and radio broadcaster Ed Farmer passes away

The Chicago White Sox are feeling the loss of one of their dearest family members.

Ed Farmer passed away Wednesday night.  The former White Sox pitcher and longtime radio broadcaster was 70.

Born in Evergreen Park on October 18, 1949, the second oldest of nine children, Farmer went to his first White Sox game at old Comiskey Park when he was five. It was at that game when he told his mother, “Someday I’m going to play here.”

Two decades later, the South Sider not only fulfilled his childhood dream by playing for the White Sox, he’d also make the 1980 All-Star team, pitching two-thirds of an inning at Dodgers Stadium. Those two outs came on one pitch. Farmer got Pete Rose to hit into a double play.

Farmer set career-highs in saves (30) and wins (7) that season. He’d pitch 11 years in the majors, three with the White Sox (1979-81).

Although he’d go onto call White Sox games after his playing days were over, Farmer actually had trouble speaking as a child. He struggled to pronounce words.

“Baseball was a way for me to break through that barrier and have people notice me,” Farmer said in an interview with SoxTV in 2019.

When Farmer was a star pitcher at St. Rita High School, he caught the eye of a scout for the Cleveland Indians. The scout's name was Jerry Krause, the same Jerry Krause who’d later win six NBA championships as the general manager of the Bulls in the 1990s. The Indians drafted Farmer out of high school. Krause eventually became a scout for the White Sox and played a big role in the club acquiring Farmer from the Texas Rangers in 1979, bringing him back to his hometown.

The ties that bind not only shaped Farmer’s life, they would also extend it.

In 1990, Farmer learned that he would die without a kidney transplant. He called his brother Tom to share the bad news. Almost immediately, Tom offered his brother his kidney. It turned out to be a perfect match.

“It saved my life,” Farmer said.

In 1991, Farmer was back with the White Sox, this time in the radio booth, calling games with play-by-play man John Rooney. Darrin Jackson became Farmer’s radio partner in 2009.

While Hawk Harrelson famously cheered in the booth for the White Sox, Farmer was equally as homerish, and wasn’t afraid to admit it.

“We want to win. You can hear it in my voice,” Farmer once said.

“I’m here to do one job. Do the broadcast, call a White Sox winner, hopefully get to the playoffs and World Series again because I’m a huge White Sox fan as well.”

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