Sunday, June 14, 2009

#116 - Ed Farmer

Ed Farmer

Ed Farmer was a so-so reliever through the early 70's. He made it up with the Indians in 1971 and pitched middle relief. He stayed in the same role through 1974. He had a mid 4.00's ERA and had as many walks as strikeouts. I'm surprised he made it in the big leagues that long.

When he went to the minors, he spent 1974, 1975 and 1977 in the starting rotation. He didn't do any better, but must have gotten hurt in 1975. He had a 7.00+ ERA in 13 starts in 1975 and didn't pitch in 1976. However, in 1978 the Brewers put him in the bullpen in AAA Spokane. He still had an ERA of 6.00, but he got a shot in the big leagues and did well.

In 1979, however, he was traded to the White Sox in mid-season and everything finally clicked. I don't know if he made a deal with Louis Cypher or not (like Sully said about Brad Lidge in a great post) but he started doing the job when put into "game" situations. He sure went into the right place because his competition for the closer's role with the White Sox was Mike Proly and Randy Scarbery.

In 1980, Ed made the All-Star team. He came into a pressure situation in the 6th. The NL had just tied the score 2-2 and Dave Winfield is standing at the plate with runners on 1st and 3rd with only 1 out. He got Winfield to hit a grounder to 2nd (potential double play?), but Willie Randolph made an error and the go-ahead run scored. Keith Hernandez then beat out a dribbler near the mound before Farmer got Pete Rose to ground into an inning-ending double play.

He came into the All-Star break with a 6-3 record, 17 saves in 21 chances and a 3.00 ERA. After the break he was 1-6 with 13 saves in 20 chances and a 3.80 ERA. Not quite the same. His 1981 season looked like his early 70's seasons and he signed with the Phillies as a free agent after the season. He didn't do anything good with the Phillies or A's and was done in 1983.

Farmer is most known now for being the play-by-play voice of the White Sox. Before that, he was known for a feud with Al Cowens. On May 8, 1979, he started a game for the Rangers against the Royals. He hit leadoff hitter Frank White and broke his hand. In the 4th, he hit Al Cowens in the jaw. Each missed at least 30 games, which may have something to do with why the Royals didn't win the Western Division that year. Al Cowens had a long memory. In June of 1980, He faced Farmer in Chicago, hit a grounder and ran it out.....right to the mound and sucker punched Farmer from behind. Farmer decided to press charges and Cowens had to get the heck out of Dodge. They later buried the hatchet. Al Cowens wasn't someone you'd want to have looking to get even with you.

1972 Feature
The Game of the Day is going to be in Oakland. Bobby Grich hit a leadoff homer in the top of the 10th off Catfish Hunter to give the Orioles a 2-1 win. Dave McNally and Hunter both pitched complete games in this one. You don't see pitchers going 10 innings anymore and here's 2 that did. Earl Weaver didn't feel the need to bring Eddie Watt in to pitch the 10th; he figured McNally was pitching well so he left him in.

What's also remarkable about this game was that it was finished in 2 hours and 2 minutes. That gets you into the 6th inning now. It's not like there weren't baserunners, either. The Orioles had 6 hits and the A's had 4. Hunter had the only 3 walks of the game (imagine a pitcher going 1o innings now without walking someone). There were 5 hours in the game. Still, they finished the game in just over 2 hours. What a concept......


  1. I vividly recall the Farmer-Cowens fight. Cowens had just been traded to the Tigers and no one, not the announcers, the fans, or even his own teammates were aware of the beaning the previous year. The initial reaction was that Cowens just went nuts. It was a routine ground ball and instead of running it out, he ran to the pitchers mound and got his revenge on Farmer.

    IIRC, Farmer's police report prevented Cowens from traveling with the team later in the season because there was a fear that he would be arrested if he set foot in Chicago. I do remember the two shaking hands at home plate, not sure if that was '80 or '81

  2. You have a great memory. The stuff I researched mentioned the police report (I remembered that once I read it) and they shook hands later on in 1980.