Ed Farmer ‘was on Mount Rushmore’ of White Sox cast of characters
One unforgettable aspect of Paul Konerko’s White Sox experience was the colorful cast of characters in and around the organization, including Ed Farmer.
One indelible aspect of the White Sox experience for Sox great Paul Konerko was the colorful cast of characters in and around the organization. Former manager Ozzie Guillen and his sons, executive Ken Williams and broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson only scratch the surface.
“When new players would come in, it’s one of those things that they adjust to the people we have around,” said Konerko, who played for the Sox from 1999-2014. “And they kind of absorb everything and you tell them, ‘Hey, you’re not going to believe what we’ve got going on here.’ And within two months they kind of fall in line and it just creates the White Sox’ whole operation, the whole organization.
“Every organization does have a lot of characters, there’s no doubt. But I would put the White Sox over the years up against anybody with the characters that have come in and out of the broadcast booth and the front office, all that kind of stuff.”
Broadcaster Ed Farmer, who died Wednesday after 28 years in the Sox radio booth, “was one of those guys,” Konerko said.
“He was on the Mount Rushmore of that. Just the character. He wasn’t really in our world, I think we were in his.”
Farmer’s close friend and broadcast partner, Darrin Jackson, marveled at Farmer’s way with people, most notably his frank manner and honesty. He might say things people wouldn’t want to hear, “whether you wanted to hear it or not,” Jackson said Thursday.
“It was not constructed in a negative way,” Jackson said. “He was never, ever trying to beat somebody down. He was always there to try to help you. There were times where I would go up to a new player on our team who just joined us, got traded or something, and I would go up to them and say, ‘Hey, you haven’t met my partner yet, Ed Farmer. He’s going to come up to you. Be ready. He means no harm. He’s going to say something to you and you are going to look at him and think he’s crazy or he’s trying to offend you, and that’s not the case.’
“Multiple players would come back to me and go, ‘I see what you mean.’ I never ever in my life forewarned anyone about a meeting that would come except for with Ed. He was going to tell them something they probably didn’t want to hear, only to help them in any way that he could. But he was going to do it in honest fashion, in an eye opening fashion that only he could present.”
Many of the stories told about Farmer the day after his death involved Farmer imparting knowledge and wisdom, often unsolicited, and the remarkable favors the well-connected former pitcher would pull off for people. Events like golf dates with George W. Bush, tee times at Augusta National, tours of Air Force One and on-field visits at Notre Dame Stadium. Farmer was a people person whose broadcast booth was typically inhabited by friends, acquaintances and random guests.
“It was the most unique broadcast booth in baseball,” Jackson said. “There was no place like it, because of Ed Farmer.”
Jackson fought back tears reminiscing about Farmer. His love and respect for the man he first met as a Sox player was never more evident.
“I know it’s a loss for the city of Chicago and a loss to anybody and everybody that crossed paths with him,” Jackson said. “Whether you liked him or not as a broadcaster to me is irrelevant. Because I know for a fact he made a difference in people’s lives in a positive way. And Ed Farmer will never be forgotten.”