Whitey Ford Field

Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford (1928 - 2020) was a pitcher for the New York Yankees who was raised in Astoria. Ford was called up to the majors in 1950, beginning a long and illustrious career with the team, though he missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. During his time with the Yankees, he won 236 games as the team won 11 pennants and six World Series. He was a ten-time All Star, and in 1961 he received the Cy Young Award and World Series MVP. He earned the nickname “Chairman of the Board” for his calm, collected demeanor and pitching style.

Following his retirement in 1967, Ford served brief stints as the team’s first base and pitching coach and assisted at spring training. His jersey, number 16, was retired when he was inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He was the first Yankee pitcher to have his jersey retired.

The site of this field was occupied by Eagle Oil Works in the late 19th century, before the City acquired the land in 1906. In 1907, the U.S. Government leased part of the site for a monthly fee of $16.66 to the Coast Guard so it could maintain a lighthouse and bell along the water at the site. The lighthouse remained on the seawall until 1982. In 1942, NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses petitioned the City for the site and in October 1943, it was assigned to Parks and became known as Astoria Athletic Field. In 1985, the park’s name was changed to Hellgate Field for the water passage that the park abuts. At a special Yankee Stadium ceremony in August 2000, the field was dedicated to Whitey Ford.


"Whitey Ford Field," New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, accessed September 30, 2022, https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/whitey-ford-field/history