Percival Edmund Wentworth “Wenty” Ford

The First & Only Bahamian since September 10, 1973 to current in the baseball history of the Bahamas to pitch in the Major Leagues & 4th Bahamian to play in the Major Leagues. Multi-talented athletic that excelled not only in Baseball but Cricket, Basketball, Track & Field.

Mr Wenty Ford
November 25, 1946 – July 8, 1980 Height: 5’11” Weight: 165lbs.


Percival Edmund Wentworth Ford (known as Wenty Ford) was born November 25, 1946 in Nassau, Bahamas. Wenty Ford was the first born child to the parents of Percival Edmund Wentworth Ford, Sr. (printer for the Nassau Guardian newspaper) and Florence Coleby Ford. They had eleven children, eight boys and three girls however one of the daughters died at a young age.

Youth – Start of Sports

The onset of Wenty’s passion for sports, which included both baseball and cricket, started around the age of seven. Most of his athletic development years were spent on Windsor Park and Southern Junior & Senior School playgrounds (now Columbus Primary School). His brother Eddie Ford recalls those days together.

During this period, Wenty also started piano lessons around the age of 7 years old. He had piano lessons twice per week with his instructor Mrs. Gloria Barrett and he attended religiously with his younger brother Eddie (1 year younger) tagging for support. He continued with piano lessons until age of 11/12 years old when his love for baseball and cricket became priority. This became apparent when his father Percival Sr. realized for a period of time he was not getting any bills for his piano instructor, Mrs. Barrett; it was at this time his father was informed that he was not attending music classes but playing ball on the Southern Recreation Grounds.

From the very beginning, he played and excelled against boys twice his age. He was a child prodigy in many respects, making his first national cricket team as a twelve year old bowler while still the youngest member of St. Bernard’s Sporting Club’s Men’s Team(BahamasGov).

Wenty’s athletic skills as a youth was advanced for his age. As a Little League Baseballer, Cecil Richardson, recalls the late Father Marcian Peters of St. Josephs giving Wenty the nicknamed “Mickey Mantle”. Richardson would also mention that Wenty played third base and was a pitcher.

Educational Background

Ford displayed his gifted athleticism very early. He attended St. Barnabas Day School, Sands School, Southern Junior & Senior Secondary School, St. Augustine’s College and last high school year at St. John’s College. According to his father the late Percy Sr., the transition to St. John’s College was because he wanted to be with his buddy at the time Daryl Bartlett. Wenty continued to excel in specialty sports as well as track and field for St. John’s.

Life After Graduation

After graduation, Wenty continued as a baseball pitcher and cricket bowler at home and abroad. In 1965 he played baseball in a place rarely associated with the game: Jamaica. The visiting Bahamian team was a combination of cricketers and volleyballers. The Daily Gleaner observed that “Ford’s pitching left the losers wondering at his sharp in and out curves.”

Wenty’s Athletic Intelligent Quotient permitted him to excel in a variety of sporting disciplines as he also represented St. Bernard’s in Baseball, Basketball and was a Track & Field distance runner. His notable successes were in baseball and basketball (BahamasGov).

Given the long British influence in the Bahamas, cricket was the traditional sport there, but baseball took off in the mid- to late 1950s thanks to the first and second Bahamian major-leaguers, André Rodgers and Tony Curry. Young Wenty knew them as well as future Cincinnati Red Ed Armbrister, who was born about a year and half after him. Although he played cricket and basketball as a youth, he enjoyed baseball too (Rory Castello).

Top Sportsman of the Year 1965

In 1965, Wenty outpolled some 41 other top Bahamian athletes at the time that include pro Vince Ferguson and yachtsman Percy Knowles, second and third respectively to win Sportsman of the Year 1965, a prestigious award at the time. Ford received 5,000 votes that definitely boosted his confidence and self-esteem at that time. Wenty was presented the Sportsman of the Year in 1965 by Yankee great Elston Howard.

Signed with the Atlanta Braves 1966

In February 1966, the Atlanta Braves signed him to that Club’s Minor League system. The scout of record is John Mullen, who was then the Braves’ farm director. Vince Ferguson, a Bahamian pro player in the Braves organization at the time played an instrumental role in Wenty joining the Braves. Ferguson recommended Ford at the time. In 1967, Wenty was invited by Mr. Mullen in Waycross, Georgia.

Wenty “After I had been there about three weeks, they saw how bad I wanted to play ball. I’d been dreaming about it ever since I was 10 years old.” (Rory Castello).

A right-handed pitcher, Ford’s first assignment was to Sarasota in the Gulf Coast rookie league. He started just four times in 13 appearances but tied for the league lead in wins with six, against just two losses. His ERA was a sharp 2.08 (Rory Castello).

The Braves promoted Wenty to Class A for 1967, and he pitched very well again. He won 12 and lost 10 for a West Palm Beach team that was 51-81. He put up another fine ERA of 2.49. The clear highlight came on June 1. In front of just 194 fans at home, Ford threw a perfect game against the Fort Lauderdale Yankees, a team that included future big-leaguers Tony Solaita and Johnny Ellis. He “displayed a sharp-breaking curve, a good slider and an effective change as he fanned eight Yankees. He threw only 84 pitches and no batter got as much as a ball three count.”6. He even drove in the game’s only run with an infield out (Rory Castello).

Ford returned to form as a reliever at Savannah in 1971. Clint Courtney became manager there in 1972; once more Wenty posted an ERA below 3.00 coming out of the pen. It was little surprise that when Courtney took over as skipper at Triple-A Richmond in June 1973, Ford went up with him. The difference was that he had become a starter again — and he was pitching better than he ever had (Rory Castello).

“He seems to throw junk, but it’s obviously good junk,” said one story from August 1973 that also called him “mysteriously successful.” There were a lot of clear keys, though: Wenty changed speeds, worked fast, and had good control. “He knows how to pitch,” said Bobby Cox, then managing the Syracuse Chiefs.10 Courtney said the same thing, also noting, “He’s even better now because he’s smarter. He has batters in this league cussing at themselves. And you won’t find a better fielding pitcher.” (Rory Castello).

Clint Courtney manager of Richmond Braves at the time stated “I informed our parent club that Wenty performs best as a started.” Ford had previously missed two weeks (August 1973) prior to action due to tender right throwing arm (Nassau Guardian, Monday, September 3, 1973).

He had a combined record of 17-7, 2.46 when the Braves called him up in September 1973.

September 1973 Call to the Major Leagues

September of 1973, Ford would get a long-awaited call to the Major Leagues (Nassau Guardian, Monday September 3, 1973). The local pitcher’s initial appearance September 10, 1973 in the Major Leagues against the San Francisco Giants with veteran Juan Marichal on the mound for the Giants, was a smashing success (Bahamas Gov). He went the route and gave up only five hits against a power packed Giants line-up in pitching Braves to a 10-4 victory. Ford also collected two hits and drove in a run during the game Leagues (Nassau Guardian, Monday September 3, 1973).

After the game, in his usual modest way, Ford added, “I throw breaking pitches mostly, then come in with my fastball — if you want to call it that.” Writers also asked Wenty — who himself covered sports for the Nassau Guardian in the offseason — how he would file his story. The good-humored rookie said, “You gotta lead with Aaron.” Hank, who was closing in on Babe Ruth, had hit his 710th homer (Rory Castello).

Five days later, Atlanta Braves were scheduled to play against the Cincinnati Reds; at the time another Bahamian Major League player, Ed Armbrister played as an outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds. Ford appeared in 3⅔ innings pitched in relief against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing only two hits and one earned run, but that run came on a ninth-inning, walk-off home run to Tony Pérez to saddle Ford with a loss. He was ineffective in his next two outings, one each as a reliever and starter, and finished his MLB career with a 1–2 record, with 17 hits and eight bases on balls allowed, with four strikeouts, in 16⅓ innings pitched (Wikipedia).

In his next outing, Ford lost a tough one. The game was tied 2-2 with two outs in the 10th, his fourth inning in relief of Phil Niekro. Tony Pérez ended it with a homer. He made one more relief appearance and lost a bad start, and that was all for Wenty Ford in the majors: 1 win, 2 losses, 5.51 ERA (Rory Castello).

Ford would take the mound for the last game of the Major League season September 30, 1973. Wenty was named “Player of the month” by the Atlanta Braves would take the mound for one more time in MLB (4th appearance) in September 30, 1973 with the Atlanta Braves (Nassau Guardian, October 1973).

Ford would be re-assigned to the Braves AAA Club, the Richmond Braves, in March of 1974 however it was not a successful season [BahamasGov]. He appeared in only 18 games, starting 10, and posted a 3-7, 6.10 record. He still had some fine performances, including a two-hit shutout over Pawtucket in late June. Ford was suffering from tendinitis and was also discouraged to be back in the minors. Yet even while things weren’t going well, he kept his sense of humor, as this July 1974 anecdote shows.

“The other day, [Clint] Courtney sat on the bench while his pitcher, Wenty Ford, came out of the runway from the club house. ‘Hey Wenty, do you think you might be able to pitch for us tomorrow?’ Ford replied: ‘Well, I guess so.’ ‘Guess so?’ Scraps retorted, ‘aren’t you sure?’ ‘Well, yes,’ Wenty explained, ‘but you didn’t talk like you’re very sure you want me to pitch.’ Then both broke out in laughter.” (Rory Castello).

Ford was sent back to Savannah for the 1975 season, but he pitched just five games (1-0, 4.20). Mario Ford his brother stated at the time Wenty was suffering from tendinitis. He recall Wenty was going to be traded to the Yankees organization, but instead Wenty decided to come home to the Bahamas for good.

Baseball Offseason

Wenty never played winter ball. After the baseball season ended, he would play basketball and cricket back at home. In September 1970, for example, a Jamaican cricket club called the St. George’s Old Boys came to Nassau. “In the feature match played at Windsor Park, a large crowd of over 2,000 spectators saw their paceman Wenty Ford wreck the Jamaican batting, bagging six for 22.” (Rory Castello).

Ford during the off season was a sports journalist at the Nassau Guardian. He never took journalism classes but he became a capable sports journalist, based on his knowledge of the various sports disciplines, and reading articles in newspapers and magazines.

Marriage to Evangeline November 23, 1974

Though the details on exactly how Wenty and Evangeline met are unclear, one of her best friends and Godfather to their oldest daughter Wentia, Cecil Richardson, stated their union was truly unique. Vangy was a regular women, with no athletic background. Per Mr. Richardson, Wenty seemed to be more in love with Vangy at the initial part of the relationship but both fell deeply in love with each other; Vangy did not take Wenty serious at the time partly because he was such a major Bahamian figure and popular at that time.

On November 23, 1974, he married Evangeline also known as “Vangy” Williams. They were “best friends” to each other and extremely close. They were at the time one of the most popular and admired couples in the Bahamas back in the mid-to-late 70’s.

The couple would have 2 two girls together Wentia and Vanda in 1976 and 1977 respectively.

Life After Baseball: Wenty’s Finally Returns Home 1975

Upon retirement then, he made easy transition to full-time head coach of these two sports. He succeeded in both, accepting private sponsorship for both teams, one becoming the St. Pauli Girl’s Baron in baseball and the other becoming Kentucky Colonels in basketball.

The achievements of these two teams became legendary in that records they created approach the reaches of basketball or baseball club the predominant in the annuals of Bahamian sport. More salient examples of this are explained in that as either the Barons, the Holstein Knights or Del Jane Saints, Wenty’s baseball club dominated local baseball from the 1970’s to the 1980’s, but not without severe challenges from the Harlem Knights, Heineken St. Bernard’s and Spotless Cleaners. Similar successes were echoed by his Kentucky Colonels Basketball Club, inheriting the parental mantle of the champion St. Bernard’s Basketball team of the 1950’s and further gold plating it with national championship upon championship. Brother Eddie Ford mentioned that Wenty would discontinue playing basketball, once he became that manager for the Playboy Casino at Sonesta Beach as work schedule was demanding and didn’t permit.

In fact the Colonels enjoyed unique success when it completed a perfect 35–0 season in 1973-74. Scores of accomplishments did Wenty achieve at the local and international level, as player, coach and manager. His greatest triumph though was the gift of perseverance he inspired in generations of Bahamian youth (BahamasGov).

He also worked on behalf of children’s baseball programs (Rory Costello).

Tragedic Death: Car Accident July 8, 1980

On July 8, 1980, around 2/3AM while driving home from his late night shift at the Casino, Wenty fell asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle and collided with a utility pole in Prince Charles Drive. He died upon impact as a results of a broken neck. He became the first Major League Baseball player to die in the Bahamas.

The day before Wenty’s funeral at St. Agnes Church, Blue Hill Road, a huge tent was erected on Windsor Park. There his body was laid out for viewing to the public; thousands turned out to pay their respects. Brother Eddie Ford recalls the funeral being delayed as the Bahamas had a National Softball team playing in a tournament. Though Wenty was not playing softball at the time, many of the team members were former teammates for Ford.

There was an overwhelming outpouring of Bahamians that came to pay their final respects to Wenty. Cecil Richardson (close friend of both Wenty & Vangy) recall during the funeral service, Father William Thompson (deceased) referred to Wenty Ford as a “Sports Genuis.”

Wenty was laid to rest in his baseball uniform, #33 at Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery in Nassau, Bahamas.

Wall of Fame at Sir Lyden Pindling Airport 2005

On October 8, 2005, Wenty Ford’s picture was added to the Wall of Fame at Lynden Pindling International Airport. Vangy received the honor, given to the top sporting figures in the Bahamas, on his behalf. Also attending the ceremony were Ford’s sister Linda and his brothers Eddie and Mario (who played at Tuskegee and also had pro potential). Mario said, “It was a privilege for Wenty to be honoured seeing that he pitched in the major and minor leagues of baseball. It is a high accolade for him and we are proud that it has happened. . .It is a great feeling.”(Rory Castello).

National Hall of Fame of the Bahamas 2009

A little over four years later, on October 31, 2009, Ford posthumously entered the National Hall of Fame of the Bahamas. The Minister of Sports, Desmond Bannister, presented the awardees with a framed picture and record of their achievements. Vangy again accepted on her husband’s behalf. A ceremony at Government House followed when the busts of the 15 new members were completed (Rory Castello).

Yet along with these higher-profile honors, Wenty’s memory also lives on in a subtle and equally significant way. His Hall of Fame teammate, Hank Aaron, visited the Bahamas every now and then. For example, he returned for Independence Day 2008 as the guest of the U.S. Ambassador. The next day, July 5, he addressed a group of aspiring young baseball players. Hank and Wenty weren’t that close, because the pitcher was with Atlanta for such a short time. Still, nearly 35 years later, he mentioned Ford by name to the children. He also emphasized staying in school and getting a good education — a message that Wenty Ford would no doubt have endorsed wholeheartedly (Rory Castello).


  1. Rory Costello. Society For American Baseball.
  2. Nassau Guardian, Monday, September 3, 1973. “Wenty Ford Brillant in NL Debut.” Editor Fred Sturrup.
  4. Percival Edmund Wentworth “Wenty” Ford Member of the National Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
  5. Nassau Guardian, Monday, September 3, 1973.