Ed Farmer, the voice of the Chicago White Sox for almost 30 years, dies

Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO -- Ed Farmer -- a son of Chicago's South Side who spent 21/2 season pitching for the White Sox during an 11-year major-league baseball career and, for almost 30 years, was a radio announcer for the team -- died on Wednesday night according to the White Sox. He was 70.

A member of the 1980 American League All-Star team while with the Sox, Farmer had been a full-time radio announcer for the White Sox since 1992, first as an analyst and, beginning in 2006, as a play-by-play man.

Farmer was plagued most of his life with polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disorder in which cysts form in clusters mainly around kidneys, eventually keeping them from functioning properly.

The same condition claimed the life of his mother, Marilyn, when she was 38 and Farmer was 17, in his first year of minor-league baseball.

The kidney disease began to affect him toward the end of his playing career, which included stints with the Indians, Tigers, Phillies (twice), Orioles, Brewers and Rangers, concluding with the Athletics in 1983, although he continued to pitch in the minors through 1986.

Farmer received a transplanted kidney from a brother in the early 1990s and attempted to control his condition's ill effects with medications, a regimen that at one time required as many as 56 pills daily.


But at his peak, he could be scary on the mound.

In one memorable 1979 game for the Rangers, his first start in almost five years, he hit Royals leadoff man Frank White with the second pitch of the game, breaking White's right thumb.

Then, in the fifth, a wild pitch by Farmer with runners on second and third enabled the Royals to tie the game, 7-7, bringing Al Cowens came to the plate. Another tight fastball from Farmer broke Cowens' jaw and some of his teeth and he was taken off the field by stretcher.

"I have to believe he was looking for a breaking pitch," Farmer said at the time. "He never moved."


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