April 25, 1883|
|Died: January 24, 1960
Rockingham, North Carolina
|April 28, 1909, for the New York Highlanders|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 16, 1915, for the Buffalo Blues|
|Earned run average||2.59|
Ford is best known as the creator of the "emery" or "scuff" ball, a pitch that was thrown with a ball that had been scuffed with a piece of emery. Ford came across the "scuff ball" by accident when playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1908. When pitching under a grandstand due to rain, Ford accidentally threw a ball into a wooden upright, marking the surface. Ford threw another pitch with the damaged ball, and noticed how it curved more than previous pitches.
Ford won 26 games in his rookie season of 1910, becoming only the third player in major league history to win 20 games and strike out at least 200 batters in his first season (Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander are the others).