CHICAGO — Ed Farmer, an All-Star reliever who spent nearly three decades as a radio broadcaster for the White Sox, passed away at the age of 70 Wednesday night.
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson remembers Farmer not only a voice of the Sox for nearly thirty years but also as an outstanding pitcher when came into the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians.
“He was a thoroughbred, I’ll tell you that. I’ve known him since he was 18 years old,” Harrelson explained. “Didn’t take long, maybe a couple of appearances, and you knew you had something going there because he was tough. A great competitor. All the guys just loved him. He was one of those guys that you could tie, but you couldn’t beat as a person. He was just a wonderful person. Unique. Pissed a lot of people off, but he didn’t care. He was not afraid of anything. He was not afraid of anybody or anything or any situation.”
A native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, and a graduate of St. Rita High on the South Side, Farmer was 30-43 with a 4.30 ERA and 75 saves while pitching for eight teams over 11 seasons. He was an All-Star for the White Sox in 1980, when he saved 30 games — then a club record.
Farmer joined the White Sox radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991 and became a full-time analyst in 1992 alongside play-by-play announcer John Rooney. He assumed play-by-play duties in 2006 and completed his 29th season in 2019. Farmer called perfect games by Mark Buehrle against Tampa Bay in 2009 and Phillip Humber at Seattle in 2012 as well as Hall of Famer Jim Thome’s 500th homer.
“He loved his job. Even in bad health and he’s been in bad health for awhile now, he would just tough it out. A lot of guys – they’d be in the ICU with what he was going through, but he never complained one time. Not one time in all the years that he’s been going through this.”
Farmer became an advocate for organ donation after a kidney transplant in 1991. He served on the board of directors of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about the disease in 1995. He also supported the state of Illinois organ donor program.
Farmer is survived by wife Barbara and daughter Shanda.