Jon Lew Ford
Born August 12, 1976 Port Neches, Texas
Raised in Port Neches, TX, Jon Lewis Ford is an American professional baseball outfielder and hitting coach. His Major League Baseball years were with the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles. Some of his other stops include time in the Nippon Professional Baseball League for the Hanshin Tigers, the Mexican League for the Guerreros de Oaxa ca, and the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for the Long Island Ducks. Ford loves the game of baseball, and in more than 24 seasons, he has been on a wide variety of teams spanning the globe.
Lew benefited from the heavy involvement of his family in sports. His grandfather played football at The University of Texas, and his grandmother played tennis. His other grandfather was the head football coach at Port Neches-Groves High School and guided the team to a State Championship. During his time as an assistant coach, PNG also won a 2nd state championship. His father played football at Lamar University in Beaumont and coached football, basketball, and track at Stephen F Austin.
Lew played basketball, football, baseball, soccer, golf, and ran track growing up. He was All-District in football in his junior and senior Years, 1993 & 1994.
Ford elected to attend Texas A&M on an Academic Scholarship. He tried out for the baseball team as a walk-on his freshman year but did not make the team. A subsequent attempt in his sophomore year was successful. The coach told him he was the only player they had ever kept from those tryouts. Lew transferred to Seminole Junior College and then played ball at Lee College, where he was All-Conference and All-Region and set the school record for batting average.
Ford finished college at Dallas Baptist University, where he set school records for the single-season batting average, slugging percentage, runs, doubles, and career batting average. He was in the top 5 in multiple other categories. In his junior (1998) and senior (1999) years, he was named All-American.
Lew Ford was one of the finest student-athletes to attend Dallas Baptist University. He still holds the record for batting average, runs, doubles, and stolen bases in a season. Ford's collegiate and professional baseball success is a direct result of his hard work and determination. He continues to serve the university and school community as a mentor to current student-athletes.
As the 12th-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 1999, Ford carved out a role for himself as a hard-nosed reserve outfielder, debuting in 2003 and even earning down-ballot MVP votes as a member of the '04 Twins after hitting 15 homers.
Ford was named American League Player of the Week for August 21, 2005. He helped the Twins take three out of four games from the Seattle Mariners after hitting 12-for-33, including 3 home runs, and leading the league in RBI's and runs for that week.
Three seasons later, Ford hit free agency. This new phase of his career saw him playing for many different teams in many countries, from Japan to Venezuela and back and forth to the USA.
Then as Lew has stated, "Long Island came calling." It was one of the bigger clubs in the Atlantic League. The Atlantic League is a familiar stop in the circuit of former major leaguers hoping to return to the big leagues. Trying to decide if this would be a good move for him and his family, Ford scanned the roster and recognized some players he admired, and most notably the manager, Hall of Famer Gary Carter. He knew there would be a high level of professionalism in the organization and accepted the offer.
Since then, he has been a mainstay of the Long Island Ducks organization. He won the Atlantic League's MVP award in 2014, hit .364 in '15 as a 38-year-old, and clocked ten homers at 41 - all while working as the team's hitting coach. In August 2022, he was named the league's Player of the Month at 42. His teammates joke that if he keeps it up, he's in danger of getting signed by a major league team.
On August 30, 2006, Lew was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. The award is for players of outstanding quality, high moral character, and fine leadership ability. They must be held in high esteem by their colleagues, former coaches, and former athletes.
Lew Ford figured his days were numbered 20 years ago, and yet the days keep stacking up, and with them, more at-bats and games played, an odometer well into five digits. He remains in the game, cranking away as a player-coach for the Long Island Ducks. As long as the game will have him, Ford will keep playing. "When you're on the field and playing the game, it doesn't matter how old you are - the guys still have to hit the ball."