Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back on Topps' Radar: Roy White

Here is the first "full" card for Roy White (#546). White appeared on a Yankees Rookies card in 1966, but did not have a card in 1967, despite having 356 plate appearances for the Yankees in 1966. C'mon Topps, why was White left out of the 1967 set, while this guy (who had exactly ZERO major-league games played prior to this card being issued, and whose subsequent major-league career consisted of 2 games) gets his own card?

White was signed by the Yankees in 1961, and played 4 seasons in the minor leagues as a 2nd baseman, before making his Yankees debut (as an outfielder) in September 1965. He spent the entire 1966 season with the Yankees, and started 66 games in left field that season (when Tom Tresh, the Yankees' regular left fielder, would move in to play 3rd base).

In 1967, Roy didn't start a game for the Yankees until July 19th, when he started 15 of the next 18 games at 3rd base. After spending all of 1966 with the Yankees, White played 84 games with triple-A Spokane (a Dodgers' farm team) playing exclusively at 3rd base. My theory is that the Yankees (who had traded long-time 3rd baseman Clete Boyer to the Braves in the off-season) were trying to convert White to a 3rd baseman. That experiment seems to have lasted 3 weeks at the big-league level, because by August, he was in right field, and would never play 3rd base again during his career.

White was the Yankees' regular left fielder from 1968 to 1973, and was all-star in 1969 and 1970. In 1970, he started 161 games in left, and in 1973 he started 162 games in left.

In 1974, he split his time between LF and DH, before returning to full-time left field duty from 1975-77. Beginning in 1978, Lou Piniella took over in left field, relegating White to backup status. He would play for the Yankees until retiring after the 1979 season.

Roy White was the Yankees' one link between the Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson eras.


jms said...

one of my fav yanks as a boy....he madesomegreat catches leaping over the short left field walls in lf at the old yankee stadium...my buddy and i would imitate his left-handed batting stance. a great yankee!

Unknown said...

One of my favorites also...Imagine, he actually batted cleanup one year (1970) and led the team in hr and rbi (22 and 94).Batted .296 , 95 walks and 109 runs. 30 doubles 6 triples and 24 stolen bases.