CHICAGO (CBS) — Ed Farmer, a White Sox radio broadcaster for the past 29 years, and a Major League pitcher for 11 seasons, has died at age 70.
“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,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement.
Farmer started as a part-time broadcaster for the White Sox in 1991, and had been the team’s full-time radio voice 1992, first as a color commentator alongside play-by-play man John Rooney, and then as play-by-play man since 2006 alongside analysts Chris Singleton, Steve Stone, and most recently Darrin Jackson.
“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,” Jackson said in a statement.
An All-Star pitcher for his hometown White Sox in 1980, Farmer played 2 1/2 of his 11 seasons in Chicago. He also pitched for the Indians, Tigers, Phillies, Orioles, Brewers, Rangers, and Athletics.
A native of Evergreen Park, Farmer went to St. Rita High School in Chicago, and was drafted by the Indians in 1967.
He missed several games last season due to poor health. He battled polycystic kidney disease, and had a kidney transplant in 1991, becoming an outspoken advocate for organ donation.
“We have lost an extraordinary person with the passing of Chicago White Sox radio announcer Ed Farmer, and I have lost a dear friend,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I was proud to partner with Ed on organ/tissue donation awareness and saw first-hand his passion and commitment to this lifesaving program. As a kidney recipient, he dedicated himself to giving back to the program that extended his life for nearly 30 years. Ed and I worked together to bring White Sox players to the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago where they signed autographs, educated the public and most importantly registered people for the state’s organ/tissue donor program. Ed was a hero. My deepest sympathy to the Farmer Family, his White Sox Family and Ed’s many friends and fans.”
We mourn the death of Ed Farmer who passed away Wednesday night.
Farmer 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. pic.twitter.com/wx7itjfEYk
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 2, 2020
White Sox television play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti called Farmer “a loyal, welcoming friend” in a tribute on Twitter.
“Scores of people have lost a piece of their heart, including me,” Benetti wrote.
The @whitesox radio booth was always filled to the brim with guests.
Ed Farmer was such a loyal, welcoming friend. Scores of people have lost a piece of their heart, including me.
— Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti) April 2, 2020
Farmer is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Shanda. Donations may be made in Farmer’s name to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation.