Sept. 20, 201 By Allie Griffin
A block in Astoria now bears the name of legendary, Astoria-raised Yankees player Whitey Ford.
A stretch of 43rd Street between 34th and 35th Avenues was co-named “Edward Charles ‘Whitey’ Ford Way” at a ceremony hosted by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer Saturday.
The Yankees pitcher, who died nearly a year ago at the age of 91, grew up playing baseball in the sandlots of Astoria before going pro. He was raised on the block now named after him.
Van Bramer said meeting Ford’s family at the street co-naming ceremony was an honor.
“While everyone knows I’m a big Mets fan, meeting Mrs. Joan Ford and her very large family today was a treat as we renamed the street she and her Yankees legend husband Whitey Ford grew up on in Astoria,” he wrote on Twitter. “Great stories she told. I’ll never see 43rd St and 34th Ave the same again!”
Ford played with the neighborhood’s 34th Avenue Boys and went on to spend his entire 16-year professional baseball career as a New York Yankee, winning more games than any Yankee player in history.
Nicknamed the “Chairman of the Board” for his winning record, Ford joined the Yankees in 1947 and became a 10-time All Star and six-time World Series champion. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Ford’s 236 career wins are the most of any Yankee player in history.
A ball field used by little league teams in Astoria is also named after the baseball legend. The “Whitey Ford Field” is the oldest ball field in Queens, local historians say. It was built in 1906 and named after Ford in 2000.
The Friends of Whitey Ford Field joined Ford’s family and friends, the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Van Bramer at the street naming ceremony Saturday.