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White Sox announcer Ed Farmer, 70, dies

@scottmerkin
April 2, 2020

CHICAGO -- Ed Farmer, the gregarious member of the White Sox radio network for the past three decades, passed away Wednesday night according to the team. He was 70 years old. Farmer broadcast one 2020 White Sox Cactus League contest at Camelback Ranch in late February before returning home to

CHICAGO -- Ed Farmer, the gregarious member of the White Sox radio network for the past three decades, passed away Wednesday night according to the team. He was 70 years old.

Farmer broadcast one 2020 White Sox Cactus League contest at Camelback Ranch in late February before returning home to Calabasas, Calif., due to health reasons. He also had missed some broadcast time during the 2019 season.

This would have been his 29th full season in the booth, 15th as the radio play-by-play man and 12th with analyst Darrin Jackson. Farmer did two seasons with Chris Singleton (2006-07) and one with Steve Stone ('08), previously having served as radio analyst with Jon Rooney for 14 seasons from 1992-2005. He joined the White Sox radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991.

"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."

Famer's playing career ran from 1971-83, pitching for the Phillies, White Sox, Indians, A's, Rangers, Tigers, Orioles and Brewers, producing 75 saves over 370 games. Farmer earned his lone career All-Star nod in 1980, when he saved 30 and posted a 3.34 ERA in 64 games for the White Sox. Farmer earned his lone career All-Star nod in 1980, when he saved 30 and posted a 3.34 ERA in 64 games for the White Sox.

Those 30 saves were a White Sox record at the time and remain tied for the 16th-most in a season in White Sox history. He recorded 54 saves during his White Sox career (1979-81) to rank 11th on the all-time franchise list. He also served as a Major League scout for Baltimore from 1988-90, with Orioles standouts from Jim Palmer to Ben McDonald paying tribute to Farmer via social media Thursday.

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, the iconic television play-by-play voice for the White Sox for more than three decades, knew Farmer since he was 18 as Farmer’s 1971 rookie season with the Indians was Harrelson’s last in the big leagues. Harrelson said he took to Farmer right away because of his fierce competitiveness and viewed him as a little brother.

'He was real': Farmer remembered fondly

“We had so many good times together,” said Harrelson Thursday morning from his Florida home. “There are some guys who are great guys and everything like Ed, but none of them were better. He was just a wonderful guy.

“He knew pitching just about as well as anybody. He could articulate it. He’s one of the toughest guys I ever played with. That’s one of the reasons everybody loved him. At one time he had as good of a curve ball/fastball combo as anybody in the game. He threw in the high 90s and had a curve ball you could hear. We are all going to miss him. Everybody loved him.”

Jackson issued a statement through the White Sox concerning his close friend and broadcast partner. His thoughts of Farmer being in a better place after battling for so long were echoed by Harrelson.

"My heart is broken, but my mind is at peace knowing my dear friend is no longer suffering," Jackson said. "Ed was a competitor who also was everyone’s best friend. I saw firsthand 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 [wife] Barbara and [daughter] Shanda, the only people he loved more than the White Sox and his hometown of Chicago.”

“There’s just nothing bad you can say about him,” Harrelson said. “He was just a helluva guy. He was a very principled person.”

As a baseball and basketball standout for St. Rita High School in Chicago and originally born in the south suburb of Evergreen Park, Ill., Farmer was a South Sider to his core. He was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame in 1999.

Farmer possessed a deep love for Notre Dame football, often emceeing luncheons in South Bend on the week of games. He appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995 to testify about polycystic kidney disease, a disease that forced him to undergo a kidney transplant in 1991, and previously served on the board of directors of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation. He worked with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Illinois' organ donation program.

Donations may be made in Farmer’s name to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation. Farmer is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Shanda, and countless White Sox fans who basically considered him a part of the family.

“Everybody knows 79th and Francisco. It’s where Ed Farmer grew up,” said White Sox senior vice president, chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer. “Some of the texts I’ve gotten this morning [are] people just saying a number of times ‘South Sider through and through.’ That’s the theme.

“Broadcasters work hard, and they care about their craft. But this truly was his passion and outside of his family, there’s nothing more valuable than the White Sox to Ed Farmer.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.