Remembering Ed Farmer

White Sox

Ed Farmer (Photo courtesy Chicago White Sox)

Ed Farmer, Chicago White Sox radio broadcaster for 29 seasons including the last two on WGN Radio, passed away Wednesday night in a Los Angeles-area hospital of complications from a previous illness. Farmer played 11 seasons in the majors including three with the White Sox and was a strong advocate for organ donation.

“We are saddened by the death of Ed Farmer. A fan first, as well as being the longtime voice of the White Sox, he was always ready to share stories that included his love for baseball, the team and the city of Chicago,” said WGN Radio General Manager Mary Boyle. “We were fortunate to have him as part of the WGN Radio family for the past two years. We share in the grief of the White Sox community and extend our sympathies to his family and all who knew him. He will missed.”

Darrin Jackson, Ed Farmer’s friend and radio partner since 2009, released the following statement: “My heart is broken, but my mind is at peace knowing my dear friend is no longer suffering. Ed was a competitor who also was everyone’s best friend. I saw first-hand how hard Ed fought each and every day and season after season to keep himself healthy and prepared to broadcast White Sox baseball. I first got to know Ed during my time in Chicago as a player and am honored to have been his friend and radio partner. My heart goes out to Barbara and Shanda, the only people he loved more than the White Sox and his hometown of Chicago.”

In January 2019, Ed stopped by WGN Radio’s PPG Paints Green Room and sat down for the following chat:

In June 2019, Ed recalled “Disco Demolition” at Comiskey Park:

In December 2018, Ed remembered his long-time friend, President George H.W. Bush:

In November 2018, Ed shared his experience of having to evacuate his home due to the California wildfires and asked for prayers for those who have been affected.

In Sepbember 2018, Ed reflected on being in New York with the White Sox on September 11, 2001.

In April 2018, Ed joined the excitement of Opening Day and shared some of his favorite stories from his years with the White Sox.

The Chicago White Sox released the following:

LONGTIME WHITE SOX RADIO BROADCASTER ED FARMER PASSES AWAY

           LOS ANGELES – Ed Farmer, who 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, passed away Wednesday night in a Los Angeles-area hospital of complications from a previous illness. Farmer was 70 years old.

           Farmer concluded his 29th full season on the White Sox Radio Network in 2019, and 14th handling play-by-play duties. The 2019 season marked his 11th with longtime broadcasting partner and friend Darrin Jackson, and second on WGN Radio 720-AM.

“Ed Farmer was the radio voice of the Chicago White Sox for three decades, and he called no-hitters, perfect games and of course, a World Series championship,” said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “His experience as a major league All-Star pitcher, his wry sense of clubhouse humor, his love of baseball and his passion for the White Sox combined to make White Sox radio broadcasts the sound of summer for millions of fans. Ed grew up a Sox fan on the south side of Chicago and his allegiance showed every single night on the radio as he welcomed his ‘friends’ to the broadcast. I am truly devastated by the loss of my friend.”

           Farmer joined the White Sox radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991 and took over full-time analyst duties in 1992 alongside play-by-play broadcaster John Rooney. Farmer and Rooney worked together from 1992-2005, and the duo was named the best radio team in the American League by USAToday.com in 2004. Farmer became the Sox play-by-play voice in 2006 where he worked with former White Sox outfielder Chris Singleton for two seasons (2006-07) and current television analyst Steve Stone in 2008 before teaming with Jackson in 2009.

Farmer was a longtime advocate and supporter of organ and tissue donation after undergoing a kidney transplant in 1991 due to polycystic kidney disease. He made an annual appearance with Secretary of State Jesse White at the James R. Thompson Center to raise awareness and promote the need for organ and tissue donation in Illinois. Farmer previously served on the board of directors of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about the disease in 1995. He also actively supported the state of Illinois organ donor program, Donate Life Illinois (donatelifeillinois.org).

A native of Evergreen Park, Ill. and graduate of St. Rita High School in Chicago, Farmer was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 1967 amateur draft at the age of 17. He made his major-league debut in June 1971 at 21 years old. Farmer went 30-43 with a 4.30 ERA (298 ER/624.0 IP), 75 saves and 395 strikeouts in 370 career major league games over 11 seasons with Cleveland (1971-73), Detroit (1973), Philadelphia (1974, ’82-83), Baltimore (1977), Milwaukee (1978), Texas (1979), the White Sox (1979-81) and Oakland (1983).

Farmer made the All-Star team with Chicago in 1980, finishing third in baseball with 30 saves (a White Sox record at the time). His 30 saves in 1980 remain tied for the 16th-most in a season in White Sox history, and his 54 total saves with the Sox are the 11th-most in club history.

Farmer was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame in 1999. Prior to joining the Sox radio booth, Farmer served as a special assistant with the club in 1991 and was a major-league scout for the Orioles from 1988-90.

Farmer, who is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Shanda, enjoyed a lifelong love for animals, especially cats and dogs, Notre Dame and golf.

Donations may be made in Farmer’s name to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation (support.pkdcure.org).

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© 2020 Chicago White Sox

Below is a list of unforgettable seasons, moments and players in White Sox history Ed Farmer called on the radio:

·       April 21, 2012 at Seattle: Phillip Humber throws a perfect game … with the game being broadcast nationally on FOX, Farmer provided the only hometown call;

·       July 23, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay: Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game;

·       September 30, 2008 vs. Minnesota: Game No. 163 (“Blackout Game”), a 1-0 White Sox win to clinch the American League Central division championship;

·       September 16, 2007 vs. Los Angeles-AL: Jim Thome hits his 500th career home run, a game-ending, two-run shot;

·       April 18, 2007 vs. Texas: Buehrle throws a no-hitter and faces the minimum 27 batters;

·       The 2005 season: The White Sox lead the AL Central wire-to-wire, win 99 games and go 11-1 in the postseason to win their first World Series championship since 1917;

·       The 2000 and 1993 seasons: The White Sox win AL Central, and AL West division titles respectively;

·       Broadcast games of Hall-of-Famers Frank Thomas, Harold Baines, Thome, Tim Raines and Carlton Fisk; also called numerous performances by White Sox legends Paul Konerko, Buehrle, Robin Ventura, A.J. Pierzynski, Ozzie Guillén and Magglio Ordoñez.

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