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. When pitching under a grandstand due to rain, Ford accidentally threw a ball into a wooden upright, marking the surface.
Ford threw another pitch with the damaged ball, and noticed how it curved more than previous pitches.
His pitch selection included the famed scuff/emery ball, a spitball, fastball, and knuckle ball. Russian" brother, Gene Ford, also played in the major leagues.
Gene pitched in seven games for the Detroit Tigers in 1905.