Russ Ford

Russell William Ford (April 25, 1883 – January 24, 1960) was a Major League Baseball pitcher during the dead-ball era of the early 1900s.

Russ Ford
Russ Ford baseball card.jpg
Born: (1883-04-25)April 25, 1883
Brandon, Manitoba
Died: January 24, 1960(1960-01-24) (aged 76)
Rockingham, North Carolina
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 28, 1909, for the New York Highlanders
Last MLB appearance
August 16, 1915, for the Buffalo Blues
MLB statistics
Win–loss record100-71
Earned run average2.59

Emery BallEdit

Ford in 1911

Ford is best known as the creator of the "emery" or "scuff" ball, a pitch that was thrown with a ball that had been scuffed with a piece of emery. Ford came across the "scuff ball" by accident when playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1908.[1] When pitching under a grandstand due to rain, Ford accidentally threw a ball into a wooden upright, marking the surface.[1] Ford threw another pitch with the damaged ball, and noticed how it curved more than previous pitches.[1]

Ford won 26 games in his rookie season of 1910, becoming only the third player in major league history to win 20 games and strike out at least 200 batters in his first season (Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander are the others).

His pitch selection included the famed scuff/emery ball, a spitball, fastball, and knuckle ball.[2]

Russ Ford pitching

Hall of FameEdit

Ford was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002.


Russ' brother, Gene Ford, also played in the major leagues. Gene pitched in seven games for the Detroit Tigers in 1905.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Dickson, Paul (1989). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. United States: Facts on File. p. 147. ISBN 0816017417.
  2. ^ The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004.

External linksEdit