Frank White
White at the White House in 1985
Second baseman
Born: (1950-09-04) September 4, 1950 (age 73)
Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 12, 1973, for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1990, for the Kansas City Royals
MLB statistics
Batting average.255
Hits2,006
Home runs160
Runs batted in886
Teams
Career highlights and awards
County executive of Jackson County
Assumed office
January 11, 2016
Preceded byMike Sanders
Fred Arbanas (acting)
Personal details
Political partyDemocratic

Frank White Jr. (born September 4, 1950) is an American politician and former professional baseball player, coach, and television sports commentator. He played his entire eighteen-year career in Major League Baseball as a second baseman for the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1990 and was an integral member of the 1985 World Series winning team.

A five-time All-Star player, White was considered one of the best defensive second basemen of his era, winning eight Gold Glove Awards between 1977 and 1987.[1][2] He was the first American League (AL) second baseman to win the award eight times.[2] Although he was recognized more for his solid defensive play, he posted a .545 batting average during the 1980 American League Championship Series to be named the Most Valuable Player of the series.[3]

After his playing career, he has worked as a professional baseball coach and television color commentator, and has been elected to public office in Jackson County, Missouri.[3] A two-time Royals Player of the Year Award winner, in 1995 his uniform number 20 was retired and he was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.[2][3]

Early years

White was born in Greenville, Mississippi. After attending Longview Community College in Lee's Summit, Missouri, he rose through Minor League Baseball to reach the big leagues. Within the Royals' farm system, he played for the rookie league Gulf Coast League Royals (1971), Class A San Jose Bees (1972), Class AA Jacksonville Suns (1972), and Class AAA Omaha Royals (1973).

Playing career

White is one of only three MLB players, along with Ron Washington and U L Washington, who were products of the Royals Academy.[4] Though initially disliked by Kansas City fans because he displaced the popular Cookie Rojas at second base, he went on to set a major-league record jointly with teammate George Brett, by appearing in 1,914 games together. The record stood until 1995, when it was broken by the Detroit Tigers' Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.

White as a player for the Kansas City Royals

A smooth fielder, White was a five-time All-Star. He won the Gold Glove Award eight times, including six consecutive seasons from 1977 to 1982. In 1977, he played 62 consecutive errorless games. In 1980, White was awarded the inaugural American League Championship Series MVP award in the 1980 ALCS against the New York Yankees, leading the Royals to their first World Series appearance.

Although in his early years he was a singles hitter who contributed little to the Royals' run column, White improved markedly as an offensive player during his career, hitting 22 home runs two years in a row, in 1985 and 1986. Since the 1985 World Series was played without the designated hitter, White hit cleanup during that series, in place of Hal McRae. Until White, the only other second baseman to hit cleanup in a World Series was Jackie Robinson.[5] In the 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his solo home run in the seventh off Mike Scott was the deciding run in a 3–2 American League victory.

White retired as a player in 1990, after 18 seasons with Kansas City, having played 2324 regular season games with a .255 average, 160 home runs and 886 RBIs. Defensively, White posted a .984 fielding percentage at second base and .983 fielding percentage overall. He also hit for the cycle twice in his major league career, on September 26, 1979, in a 4–0 victory over the California Angels and on August 3, 1982, in a 6–5 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Post-playing career

Frank White's number 20 was retired by the Kansas City Royals in 1995.

Coaching and front office

After the end of White's playing career, he was a first base coach with both the Boston Red Sox from 1994 to 1996, and with the Kansas City Royals from 1997 to 2001, wearing uniform number 20 for both teams. He then managed the Wichita Wranglers for three years before moving to Kansas City's front office. White was mentioned as a possible candidate for Royals' general manager Dayton Moore to consider as the successor to manager Buddy Bell after the 2007 season;[6] the job ultimately went to Trey Hillman. White resigned from his position in the front office in January 2011.[7]

White is currently on the coaching staff of the Kansas City Monarchs in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.[8]

Broadcasting

In February 2008, it was announced that White was joining FSN Kansas City to serve as a part-time color commentator on Royals telecasts (filling in for Paul Splittorff on select games), as well as an analyst on the channel's Royals Live postgame show.

FSN Kansas City announced in early December 2011 that White's broadcasting contract wouldn’t be renewed as the Royals' television color commentator.[9]

Politics

White ran for the Jackson County Legislature in 2014 as a Democrat, winning the election of an at-large seat.[10][11]

On January 11, 2016, White was appointed county executive by the Jackson County Legislature, for the remainder of 2016 following the resignation of Mike Sanders.[12] In November 2016, White was elected to the same position, for a two-year term.[13] He was reelected in 2018 and 2022.[14][15]

In 2024, White vetoed an ordinance that would have created a ballot measure on renewing a 3/8th-cent sales tax to subsidize sports stadiums for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. White argued that providing more than $2 billion of taxpayer money towards stadiums without any guarantee of long-term commitments from the teams would be a bad deal for taxpayers.[16]

Honors

In 1995, White's number 20 was retired alongside George Brett and Dick Howser.

White was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. On Sunday July 2, 1995, the Royals retired White's number 20, and the same year he was inducted into the Royals' Hall of Fame.[2][3] A bronze statue of White was dedicated outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2004, joining Royals founders Ewing & Muriel Kauffman, George Brett, and as of 2009, Dick Howser.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Gregory, Jerry. "The Best Fielders of the 1970s". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d "Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame at MLB.com". mlb.com. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bogovich, Rich. "Frank White at the Society for American Baseball Research". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Mellinger, Sam "Forty years later, Royals Academy lives on in memories" The Kansas City (MO) Star, Saturday, August 2, 2014
  5. ^ City, Dave Andersonby Kansas (20 October 1985). "Sports of the Times; Unlikely Cleanup Hitter". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Around the League". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 3, 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Paylor, Terez A. (2011-01-30) Frank White resigns front-office role with Royals. KansasCity.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-04. Archived February 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Frank White takes the field with the T-Bones". kctv5.com. May 9, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Royals dump former star and KC favorite Frank White. KansasCity.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-04. Archived December 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Royals Hall of Famer Frank White running for Jackson County Legislature Archived 2017-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. kctv5.com. Retrieved on 2014-06-27.
  11. ^ Gatto, Tom (November 5, 2014). "Election Day: Royals legend Frank White earns political victory". sportingnews.com. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "County Executive Frank White Jr". jacksongov.org. January 11, 2016.
  13. ^ Hendricks, Mike (November 8, 2016). "Frank White elected Jackson County executive; Mike Sharp wins third term as sheriff". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Merchant, Josh (October 26, 2022). "Here's why all eyes are on the Jackson County executive race on Nov. 8". The Beacon. Kansas City, MO.
  15. ^ Schmidt, Heidi (November 9, 2022). "Frank White wins reelection, but Jackson County Legislature will look much different". WDAF-TV. Kansas City, MO.
  16. ^ "A county official vetoes a stadium tax for an April ballot, affecting Kansas City Chiefs and Royals". AP News. 2024-01-19.

Further reading

Achievements Preceded byBob WatsonCharlie Moore Hitting for the cycle September 26, 1979August 3, 1982 Succeeded byIván DeJesúsCal Ripken Jr. Sporting positions Preceded byFélix Maldonado Gulf Coast League Red Sox manager 1992 Succeeded byFélix Maldonado Preceded byAl Bumbry Boston Red Sox First-Base Coach 1994–1996 Succeeded byDave Jauss