Ford missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons while in the military, but returned in 1953 with an 18–6 season. As he recalled it, Yankee catcher Alston Howard gave him the nickname of chairman of the board around the mid-’50s.
Ford ran concurrently, winning 53 games from 1954 to 1956.
Then came a bad night in Yankee Vidya. In May 1957, Ford and Mantle together with some colleagues celebrated Martin’s 29th birthday at the Copacabana nightclub. A patron wound up on the floor with a broken nose and accused Hank Bauer of strapping the right fielder to fix him. Bauer denied this, and no charges were made, but the Yankees fined all the players for the episode that made embarrassing headlines. It was never clear who surrounded the customer, and Berra explained clearly, “Nobody nuthinized anyone.” But Martin was soon replaced in Kansas City Athletics.
In April 1958, to mark the beginning of another baseball season, Ford made a star turn on Ed Sullivan’s popular CBS variety show singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with Barra, Mantle and first baseman Bill Scoveran. He was accompanied by Jack Norwood, who wrote the lyrics in 1908.
The Yankees concluded the season by defeating the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series.
A world series maven
Victory methods continued for Ford in the early 1960s.
He was at his best in the World Series, his record including the most wins (10) and most strikes (94) as well as his 33eless straight scoreless innings.
He threw two shutouts against the Pirates in the 1960 World Series, though his pitching came from Bill Mazeroski’s game 7 for the series-winning home game, Pittsburgh. He took another shutout in the Game Series 1 against the Cincinnati Reds in 1961, scoring five scorers inning in Game 4 before a reliever arrived. The Yankees won five games in that game, scoring a total of 32 consecutive scoring innings of the World Series with Ford, eclipsing the record 29⅔ innings set for the Boston Red Sox in 1916 by Babe Ruth. And 1918.
Ralph Hawk, who replaced Stengel as Yankees manager in 1961, used Ford more often than Stengel, and Johnny Sen, who became the pitching coach that year, was included in Ford’s repertoire by teaching him to slider. Ford won 14 consecutive games, set a 25-4 record and captured the Cy Young Award as baseball’s best pitcher.