Monday, February 02, 2009

#190 Bill White

Bill White by you.

Whoa, check out the stinkeye from Bill White! I'm not sure whether opposing pitchers ever addressed him. But if they did, they would have been wise to call him "sir". Or possibly "Mr. White".

Fun facts about Bill White:

-The only product of Hiram College (in Hiram, Ohio...go Terriers!) to play major league baseball.

-In 1953, he became the second-ever black player in the Carolina League, following Percy Miller, Jr.

-Hit a home run for the Giants in his first career at-bat: May 7, 1956.

-Lost almost two full seasons to military service, missing all of 1957 and playing 26 games in 1958.

-Hit for the cycle vs. the Pirates on August 14, 1960.

-Tied Ty Cobb's record for hits in consecutive doubleheaders by going 14-for-18 in back-to-back twinbills on July 17-18, 1961. White's Cardinals swept all four games from the Cubs. Less than two weeks prior, he hit three home runs in a single game against the Dodgers.

-Was named to eight All-Star teams and played in six Midsummer Classics. In 1963, he was part of an all-Cardinal starting infield at the All-Star Game, along with 2B Julian Javier, SS Dick Groat, and 3B Ken Boyer.

-From 1962 through 1964, he hit over .300 with 20-plus home runs and at least 100 RBI each season. Even though he was known as a line drive hitter, he had seven seasons of 20 or more dingers and 202 total in 13 seasons.

-If I were hard-pressed, I would name 1963 as his career year. He had career highs in runs (106), hits (200), home runs (27), RBI (109), and slugging (.491) while playing all 162 games.

-His only postseason series was the 1964 World Series. Though he hit just .111 (3-for-27) with 2 RBI in seven games against the Yankees, the Cardinals emerged victorious.

-Won seven consecutive Gold Gloves (1960-1966).

-Following his playing career, spent nearly two decades in the Yankee broadcast booth (1971-1988). Went on to become the first black president of the National League, serving from 1989-1994.
Bill White (back) by you.


  1. He may have learned the "stinkeye" from being roommates with Bob Gibson.

    I heard Mike Shannon tell a story that when White was traded to the Phils, Gibson plunked him the first time he faced him and said, "Don't think you'll get anything easy just because we're friends." Unfortunately, the story is better than the truth. White was 7-34 (.206) against Gibby with 1 homer and 4 RBI. Gibson struck him out 5 times and did hit him once, in 1968, White's 3rd year with the Phillies. In White's first game against Gibby (5/18/66) he singled to left, struckout and hit a 2 run homer.

  2. Mmayes - Great fact-check, there! I am currently reading Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends, which uses Retrosheet, SABR, and (gasp) microfilm to put the smell test to lots of similar baseball anecdotes. It's a fascinating read.

  3. That's interesting about the White/Gibson story, since Roger Angell tells the same one in Ken Burns' "Baseball", and he tells it as if he got it direct from White himself.

    Is the legend of Gibson so fearsome that he's gotten both Shannon *and* White to remember it incorrectly?

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