Thirty-Fifth and Shields is where the Chicago White Sox have called home for 110 years.
It was also a home to Ed Farmer.
“My uncle loved the White Sox. My god-parent, he would take me to go see them play. I was hooked to Comiskey Park,” Farmer said in an interview with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office last year. “My address has been 35th and the Dan Ryan (Expressway) since I was 11 years old.”
Farmer went on to say that he wanted to play for White Sox one day.
And he did.
Farmer pitched for the Sox for three of his 11 big league seasons. He then went on to become the radio voice for the Sox for the last 29 seasons.
He ended each victory with his signature “Sox Win! Sox Win!”
Farmer passed away Wednesday night at a Los Angeles-area hospital from a previous illness. He was 70 years old.
“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,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement.
“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.”
Last year Farmer completed his 29th season in the White Sox radio booth, the last 11 years with partner and friend Darrin Jackson.
Farmer joined the White Sox radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991 and took over full-time analyst duties in 1992 alongside play-by-play broadcaster John Rooney, who is now the radio voice for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Farmer and Rooney worked together from 1992-2005, and the duo was named the best radio team in the American League by USAToday.com in 2004.
A native of south suburban Evergreen Park, Farmer graduated from St. Rita High School in Chicago where he also played basketball.
But baseball was his true love.
“I wanted to be the best baseball player in the city and then expanded to be the best baseball players in the state,” Farmer said last year. “My mother, Marilyn, no doubt about it, she hone me to a fine edge. I walked into Comiskey Park with my mother. I said one day I’m going to play here. She said, ‘If you’re good enough,’.”
Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who played on the Sox 2005 World Series championship team, is now a TV broadcaster. He said Farmer gave him a lot of advice for his post-baseball career.
“He would say just be yourself, you know baseball,” Pierznyski said. “He would always say he had the best job in the world but he also said it was harder than you think it is. He had to talk about baseball three hours each day. Just remind people this job is not easy. Everyone thinks this job is easy. Especially on the radio side, he had to describe everything.”
Sox star Paul Konerko said while Farmer is known for his longtime broadcasting career, people should not forget what he accomplished on the field as an All-Star pitcher.
“He was known as a real tough, rugged guy that was a real gritty reliever, pitcher. That wasn’t the guy we knew because we came in after the fact, but that can’t be lost in all this,” Konerko said. “This guy was a real good pitcher did it on the field as well. His persona was just that of a broadcaster but he also got it done on the field.”
Farmer was a longtime advocate and supporter of organ and tissue donation after undergoing a kidney transplant in 1991 due to polycystic kidney disease.
“We have lost an extraordinary person with the passing of Chicago White Sox radio announcer Ed Farmer, and I have lost a dear friend,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said in a statement. “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.”
Farmer was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1967 at the age of 17. He made his major-league debut in June 1971 at 21 years old.
Farmer made the All-Star team with Chicago in 1980, finishing third in baseball with 30 saves (a White Sox record at the time).
Farmer was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame in 1999.
Farmer, who is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Shanda, enjoyed a lifelong love for animals, especially cats and dogs, Notre Dame and golf.
Michael Puente covers Chicago and Northwest Indiana for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.