Ed Farmer was a hero of mine from childhood and for a few minutes in 2004 I was a hero of his. The former White Sox pitcher and raidio announce passed away on April 1st of this year. Hear his what his former radio partner Ed Rooney had to say about working with Ed. Here is a video from last year where farmer relected on his life in baseball.
For Christmas 2003 my wife got me tickets to Sox Fest, an annual White Sox fan event held each January. The Sox had just hired Ozzie Guillen to manage their squad and I was very excited about meeting the players and attending some of the panel discussions. During the panel discussions fans were able to go to the microphone and ask questions. During a White Sox media panel discussion I asked Ed Farmer, whon was a incredible advocate for organ donation and a recipient of a kidney from one of his brothers to talk a little about that. In asking my question I related that I had donated a kidney and appreciated his advocacy for organ donation.
This is when Farmer turned the tables on me. I remember him saying something like let's hear it for this guy, he's a true hero. There in the middle of Sox Fest I got an ovation from a bunch of Sox Fan strangers.
From all I've read and herad about Farmer,this was his way. Heexcelled at relating to people on a personal level. After the panel He talked with me for about 5 minutes even though other people were waiting to talk with Him. Farmer would often address his radio audience as his friends and he seemed to truly treat and deem each person he encountered as a friend.
Farmer grew up on the south side of Chicago in Evergreen Park and was a life long Sox fan.He pitched in the big leagues from 1971 to 1983 in what some have called a nomic career, splitting 11 seasons between 8 teams. Farmer was a career long reliever with the occasional start. He appeared in 370 games starting only 21 times ( 4 in his first season, 4 in his final season with 13 in between).
Prior to 1979 Farmer would fluctuate between the minors and the big clubs. This changed when Farmer came back to the south side for arguably his best 3 seasons. He filled the role of a closer for the Chisox with 54 of his 75 lifetime saves in a Sox uniform. He had 30 of those saves in 1980 where he earned his first and only all star appearance.
After Farmer stopped playing he worked a short time as a scout and then in the White Sox front office and in 1991 started in the radio booth in a limited capacity. In 1992 he became the full time color commentator aside play by play man John Rooney. When Rooney left in 2005 after the world championship season, Farmer became the play by play announcer. In total nearly 30 years behind the microphone.
In August of 1999 I brought our young adult group from church to a Sox game. I had ordered the tickets in advance and had to go into the office to pick them up. While waiting for the tickets A tall lean tanned man strolled into the office talking with a few people on his way to the elevator. It took me a while to realize that this was Farmio. In retrospect I should not have been surprised. He displayed all the warmth , good humor and boyish exuberance that seemed to be his only gear.
I am confident that White Sox baseball will start again after the shelter in place lifts and that games will again be broadcasted on e achieved on and off the field. The few times I saw Farmer in person I was always taken aback about how tall he was. At 6'5 He's nearly a half foot taller than myself and I'm no slouch. Now I realized that he had to be that tall because his personality , zeal , and love for the game would not fit in a smaller package.