|Born: January 28, 1934|
|May 7, 1956, for the New York Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 22, 1969, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||870|
|Career highlights and awards|
William De Kova White (born January 28, 1934) is a former professional baseball first baseman who played for the New York and San Francisco Giants (1956, 1958), St. Louis Cardinals (1959-65, 1969) and Philadelphia Phillies (1966-68). In 1989 White was elected President of the National League to replace Bart Giamatti, who succeeded Peter Ueberroth as Commissioner. White served as NL president until he retired in 1994.
In his 13-season major league career, White batted .286 with 202 home runs and 870 RBIs in 1,673 games. His best statistical year came in 1963, when he posted career highs with 200 hits, 106 runs scored, 27 home runs, and 109 RBIs. White was a consistent performer, particularly during the 1962-64 seasons. During those three seasons, he had nearly identical numbers for hits (199, 200, 191), runs (93, 106, 92), home runs (20, 27, 21), runs batted in (102, 109, 102), and average (.324, .304, .303). White is also one of the few MLB players who have hit at least .300 and driven in at least 100 runs in three consecutive seasons (1962-64). During the 1964 Cardinals championship season, White placed third in the league MVP voting for his overall seasonal performance. He batted only .111 (3-27 with 2 RBI) in the World Series that year, however. A capable baserunner, White stole 12 or more bases four times. He was also one of the top defensive first basemen of his time, winning seven straight Gold Glove Awards (1960-66). He batted and threw left-handed, and once hit for the cycle on August 14, 1960 and once hit three home runs in a game on July 5, 1961.
White earned a sports program on KMOX radio in St. Louis while he was still playing for the Cardinals. After he was traded to the Phillies, he did a program there. After ending his playing career White became a sportscaster for WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, White became the first African-American to broadcast National Hockey League games when he called several games of the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 1971, White joined the New York Yankees' broadcast team. He called Yankee games from 1971 to 1988, most often teamed with Phil Rizzuto and Frank Messer. He did the team's broadcasts on both radio and television during most of that stretch. White was the first African-American to do play-by-play regularly for a major-league sports team.
On New York City radio, White was featured on WMCA from 1971 to 1977, after which the Yankees switched over to WINS. In 1981, the Yankee broadcast team moved over to WABC. On television, White worked with Rizzuto and Messer on WPIX.
Nationally, White helped call several World Series for CBS Radio (1976, 1977, 1978, 1987, and 1988) and did sports reports for the network. White worked as a Monday Night Baseball announcer for ABC television in the late 1970s. He also did pre-game reports for ABC's coverage of the Yankee Stadium games in the 1977 World Series, and handled the post-game trophy presentation for the network after the Yanks clinched the world title in the sixth game.
WPIX and its usual Rizzuto-Messer-White broadcast trifecta carried the ALCS in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981, providing New York viewers a local alternative to the nationally broadcast telecasts. The most famous highlight with White on play-by-play was the Bucky Dent three-run home run during the one-game playoff between the Yankees and Red Sox in 1978 on WPIX.
Outside of baseball, White was also part of the coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984.
The Yankee organization showed their appreciation following his years in the broadcast booth when they selected him to receive their Pride of the Yankees Award in 1990.
White was elected to replace Giamatti as NL president in 1989 in a unanimous vote, becoming the first African-American to hold such a high executive position in sports. He served as NL president through 1994. In his autobiography, he later expressed the concern that he had about having been more of a figurehead while NL president, but also said that he managed to accomplish some of the goals that he originally had when he took the job.
For several years, beginning just after his retirement from the NL, White was a member of the Veterans Committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame. White, along with fellow newcomers Yogi Berra and Pee Wee Reese, were noted for having helped swing the vote in favor of Phil Rizzuto during their first year on the committee.