• Do White Right

    Posted by on December 2nd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Some Roy White history via the Journal News:

    White doesn’t want to lose any of the currency he’s built up with the fans who still approach him to say thanks for far more than his 15 seasons in the Yankee Stadium sun.

    “They mostly thank me for being a gentleman, for providing an image that young people could follow on the field,” White said. “Thirty years later, they thank me for being the only guy who stopped to sign autographs for their 7-year-old kids. Those are the most rewarding things to hear.”

    Of course, they also thank him for hitting .333 and driving in four runs against the Dodgers in the ’78 Series. They thank him for hitting .400 and .313 in back-to-back ALCS victories over the Royals. They thank him for that seventh-inning single allowing Bucky Dent to send another Red Sox season going, going, gone over the great green wall.

    The fans also thank him for his steadying hand during the grim days of Mickey Mantle’s decline, through the Horace Clarke ice age, all the way through the Reggie-Billy-George wars. White was there for CBS’ ownership, for the wife-swapping pitchers, for Thurman Munson’s first and last games. White was out in left for so long, Willie Randolph used to throw peanuts at him as a kid in the stands.

    White batted in front of Mantle and — during three seasons in Japan — he batted in front of Sadaharu Oh. He won a Japan Series with the Giants to go with his two championships in New York. White was a great defensive left fielder, a switch-hitter who homered from each side of the plate in five games, a guy Whitey Ford has called the most underappreciated Yankee of them all. White became the first Yankee to play a full season of error-free ball.

    Only Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Babe Ruth and Bernie Williams have played more games as a Yankee. White still stands today among the top 15 Yankees all-time in steals (fourth), walks (sixth), sacrifice flies (third), hits (11th), total bases (11th), runs (12th), doubles (14th) and extra-base hits (14th).

    But he was never among the franchise’s chosen sons. No plaque, no day, no Yankeeography, and no Joe Girardi-like rise through the coaching ranks. White spent five years of hard time in the A’s farm system before getting the call to coach first base in the Bronx. Back in ’93, Steinbrenner didn’t even invite him to an Old-Timers’ Day ceremony because he believed White tried to convince Dave Righetti to leave the Yanks for Japan. Boss George only changed his mind when his snub was made public, instructing a marketing aide to phone White with an invite.

    I must agree, strongly, if anyone deserves a Yankeeography, it’s Roy White. That is waaaaaaay overdue.

    Comments on Do White Right

    1. hopbitters
      December 2nd, 2005 | 12:15 pm

      Agreed. They need to do _something_.

    2. Raf
      December 3rd, 2005 | 12:57 pm

      This is what happens when you keep your mouth shut and do your job, and you don’t attract attention to yourself.

      “They mostly thank me for being a gentleman, for providing an image that young people could follow on the field,” White said. “Thirty years later, they thank me for being the only guy who stopped to sign autographs for their 7-year-old kids. Those are the most rewarding things to hear.”

      Those, my friends, are words from someone who gets it.

      Thanks Mr. White. See you at the next Old Timers Day, if not at a card show somewhere.

    3. December 3rd, 2005 | 1:47 pm

      Chris Cary once told me a story about hanging out in the bleachers one day, seeing a guy in a Toyota parked under the train – these were the days when you could do what you want in the bleachers, including ducking in and out. Anyway, Chris said the guy in the car was Roy White – and they talked for a long time, and he was cool.

      I used to date a girl who worked for a Japanese Travel Agency, and one night her boss took her to a business dinner, with some big wigs from Japan – and Roy White was invited too. (This is when he played in Japan.) And, she said he was a gentlemen as well.

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