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Article: Twins Getting Greatness from Utility

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:35 PM
From Denny Hocking to Nick Punto and then eventually Eduardo Escobar the Minnesota Twins have always employed a scrappy utility type of p...
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Game Thread: Twins vs Yankees 7/23/19 7:10 CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:33 PM
Yankees: The Twins Nemesis?     I may have mentioned in past writings on this site how much I despise the Yankees. Then again,...
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Twins Trade Target: Kirby Yates

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:29 PM
Kirby Yates is having a fantastic season.The best of his career, by far.Currently the holder of an ERA under 2, a WHIP of 0.81 and WAR of...
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Article: Twins Game Recap (7/22): Twins Turn Triple Play,...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:27 PM
The Twins turned a triple play in the first inning, Mitch Garver hit two of the Twins’ five home runs and the bullpen held up a lead for...
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Matthew Boyd

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:25 PM
I'm going to play a little devils advocate here on Boyd. It seems the majority is in favor of unloading top prospects for him. I personal...
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Lew Ford Continues to Live His Baseball Dream

Minnesota had been home to some other cult heroes before Willians Astudillo started to fill the role. Lew Ford debuted with the Twins as a 26-year old rookie in 2003. From 2004-2006, he averaged 135 games played on two teams that won the AL Central. Chants of “LEEEEWWWWWW” rained down from the Metrodome faithful.

Ford is now 42 but guess what? He’s still playing baseball.
Image courtesy of Long Island Ducks
Ford’s Origins
Ford was drafted in the 12th round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox. He had spent four years in college, so he was 22-years old when he signed. His time in the Boston organization would be short lived, as he was deal to Minnesota on September 9, 2000 for Hector Carrasco.

He spent the 2001 season at High-A and Double-A without showing many positive signs. He hit .259/.333/.377 with 38 extra-base hits in 129 games. He was over a year older than the competition in the Florida State League. He 2002 season might have been his coming out party. He combined for a .903 OPS at Double-A and Triple-A. It was getting harder for the Twins to ignore his production.

Ford continued to hit the ball at Triple-A in 2003 and the Twins called him up. He played 34 games that season and batted .329/.402/.575 with 11 extra-base hits in 34 games. Ford got one playoff at-bat that year and struck out against Mariano Rivera in his only plate appearance. Minnesota would fall to the Yankees three games to one.

Minnesota Nice
Ford’s best season was the 2004 campaign. He played 154 games and batted .299/.381/.446 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles. It was his only big-league season where he’d finish with double-digit home runs. He finished in the top-25 in the MVP voting. He’d play 147 games in 2005 but his numbers came back to the pack. His OBP was still .338 but his slugging percentage dipped to .377.

Minnesota would use Ford for 159 games over the next two seasons, but his numbers continued to dwindle. He played 104 games in 2006 and his OBP dropped to .287 and his slugging percentage dropped to .312. He was granted his free agency in October 2007.

Comeback King
Ford tried to mount comebacks with multiple teams in the years after leaving Minnesota. The Rockies and the Reds signed him, but he never appeared at the big-league level. However, he would make it back to the big leagues in 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles.

He played in 25 regular seasons games that season and saved his best for the postseason. In three playoff games, he went 3-for-9 with a double, an RBI and two runs scores. Baltimore won the AL Wild Card Game against Texas but fell to the New York in the ALDS. For Ford, he got to relive his big-league dream at age-35.

Long Island Legend
Since he turned 32, Ford has played parts of multiple seasons with the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League. He has also spent time playing in Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic but Long Island has become his second home.

During the 2018 campaign, he was 41 years old. That was almost 12 years older than the competition in the Atlantic League. He played 123 games and hit .293/.352/.432 with 33 doubles and 10 home runs. This season, he has served as a coach and mentor, but the Ducks have still allowed him to play in 11 games during his age-42 season.

Wally Backman, Long Island’s manager, has nothing but praise for Ford.

“He's been here, he's a part of this community, and if he wants to play and thinks he can still perform, I'll have him here with me. Lew is in the gym every day, there's a lot of work. He takes care of himself very well. You see the longevity of players today outlast players of when I played. There's so much more for a player to do -- the vitamins and the work ethic -- where we just played baseball in the 80's. We weren't in the gym like these players are today and we didn't have the supplements that are available to the players today. If you take care of yourself, and I think Lew has done that, you're able to play up to that level. Lew can hit, and he can still run."

Over 21-seasons at all levels, he has hit .296/.369/.448. He has 2331 career hits, 193 career home runs, and 495 career doubles. If you listen closely, you can still hear the chants of his name radiate at the Metrodome.

What was your favorite Lew Ford memory? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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17 Comments

I always liked that he thought the fans were booing him at first.
    • Jerr likes this
   What was your favorite Lew Ford memory?

 

 

I think I have a new one. I like it when old guys keep on playing because they like to play.

    • Jerr, Dantes929, Ben Noble and 3 others like this
I remember buying a "Lew Ford is my boyfriend" shirt from the batgirl website!! Good times.
    • Steve Lein, dbminn and bighat like this
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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
May 14 2019 11:55 PM
Favorite memory: The Hotel Iron Incident.
    • gil4, Strato Guy and Nine of twelve like this

I was at a Twins-Royals game with my twin brother sitting in the left field seats. He made a great catch and I yelled at him "You're better than a Ford, you should be a Mercedes!" He acknowledged me by raising his glove. 

    • Jerr likes this
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TheRealCupOfJoe
May 15 2019 06:34 AM

Ironing this shirt while he was wearing it.

    • gil4 and Huskertwin like this
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Joe A. Preusser
May 15 2019 06:46 AM
I remember him having the flattest swing I had ever seen.
Photo
LimestoneBaggy
May 15 2019 07:28 AM

 

Ironing this shirt while he was wearing it.

 

I once did this with a steamer.....it also did not end well. I love Lew Ford because he was a grinder, and made me think if I was a whole lot better at baseball, maybe I could have played in the bigs (these thoughts usually came to my head as I watched him hustle whilst I drank a beer).

    • bighat and Huskertwin like this

My favorite memory was the ironing the shirt while wearing it incident.LEWWWWW!

The time Gardy saw Lew Ford at dinner with a few people he didn't recognize and assumed they were friends from his time in baseball. Gardy walked up and introduced himself, and Lew said "These are some guys I met online playing World of Warcraft." Gardy just kind of nodded and walked away, according to legend. 

 

ETA: From Star Tribune (2009) You know, it's not something you would tell your kids to do because you don't know who's on the Internet or who you're talking to. But I had my agent with me at the game, and I had already arranged it with my buddies, who I had known from being online for like four years. But by the time I saw Gardy, my agent had taken off. I think he was a little bored because all we were talking about was computer stuff. So it was just the three of us having dinner when Gardy showed up. It was really funny because of Gardy. You should have seen his face when he asked how I knew the guys and they said, "We met on the Internet." He just stood there and stared.

    • WLFINN likes this

I remember buying a "Lew Ford is my boyfriend" shirt from the batgirl website!! Good times.

You might hold some kind of site record for longest time between posts. Don't be a stranger. :)

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Parker Hageman
May 15 2019 10:03 AM

high highs and low lows.

 

    • WLFINN likes this

I loved when he had to ask Gardy why fans were boooing him when he was playing well, only to be told they were saying LEWWWW.I love that he is still playing, just shows he wants to play baseball as long as his body will let him.If it makes him happy good for him. 

One time I gave my buddy 5 autographed Lew Ford baseballs for christmas. I got them as a bundle on ebay.

It might be the greatest gift I have ever given anyone.

    • Blake and Ben Noble like this
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twinsfaninsaudi
May 16 2019 03:09 AM
I was at the game where Lew got his first career hit. An opposite field single and I believe he was pinch hitting in the 9th of a game that was out of hand.

Gardy's look would have been priceless to get in a photo.One can only imagine what was racing through his brain when Lew said they met online.

 

The time Gardy saw Lew Ford at dinner with a few people he didn't recognize and assumed they were friends from his time in baseball. Gardy walked up and introduced himself, and Lew said "These are some guys I met online playing World of Warcraft." Gardy just kind of nodded and walked away, according to legend. 

 

ETA: From Star Tribune (2009) You know, it's not something you would tell your kids to do because you don't know who's on the Internet or who you're talking to. But I had my agent with me at the game, and I had already arranged it with my buddies, who I had known from being online for like four years. But by the time I saw Gardy, my agent had taken off. I think he was a little bored because all we were talking about was computer stuff. So it was just the three of us having dinner when Gardy showed up. It was really funny because of Gardy. You should have seen his face when he asked how I knew the guys and they said, "We met on the Internet." He just stood there and stared.

 

IMO for what it is worth I bet Lew was the kind of guy that thought 'I can't believe I am getting paid the kind of money I am to play a kids game'Based on where he has played I would say you can't argue his love of playing baseball.I play in an over 35 town team baseball league.It is a blast.I will be 42 this year myself.Hopefully more years of playing to come.Congrats on the continued longevity in the game Lew!


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