The Chicago White Sox are feeling the loss of one of their dearest family members.
Former White Sox pitcher and longtime radio broadcaster Ed Farmer died on Wednesday. He was 70.
Farmer was born in Evergreen Park on Oct. 18, 1949, the second-oldest of nine children. He went to his first White Sox game at old Comiskey Park when he was 5 years old. It was at that game he told his mother, “Someday, I’m going to play here.”
Two decades later, the South Sider not only fulfilled his childhood dream of playing for the White Sox, he’d also make the 1980 All-Star team, pitching two-thirds of an inning at Dodger Stadium. Those two outs came on one pitch to Pete Rose, who hit into a double play.
Farmer set career-highs in saves (30) and wins (7) that season. He pitched 11 years in the majors, three with the White Sox (1979-81).
Although he went on to call White Sox games after his playing days were over, Farmer actually had trouble speaking as a child and 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. That scout's name was Jerry Krause — the same Jerry Krause who would 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 news. Almost immediately, Tom offered his brother his own 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 for the White Sox from the booth, Farmer was equally homer-ish 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.”
We mourn the death of Ed Farmer who passed away Wednesday night.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 2, 2020
Farmer worked as a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox for nearly 30 years, played 11 seasons in the major leagues, including three with his hometown White Sox, and was a strong advocate for organ donation. pic.twitter.com/wx7itjfEYk