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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Roy White Recalls Memorable Years Playing for Yomiuri Giants

May 22, 2023

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The following are excerpts from a wonderful article published on JAPAN Forward.

Please click the link below to read the full article.


FULL ARTICLE HERE:


by Ed Odoven (special to Start Spreading the News)


Roy White personified class throughout his pro baseball career.


Following his distinguished 15 seasons with the New York Yankees (1965-79), White played the final three seasons of his career for the Yomiuri Giants, retiring in 1982 at age 38. In a new hardcover book released in April 2023, Roy White: From Compton to the Bronx (276 pages, Artemesia Publishing; also available as an ebook), the longtime outfielder's career is examined and placed in its proper context.


Former Yankees second baseman Willie Randolph summed up White's career this way: "He is universally respected in and out of the game because he is a quality person and was a great teammate and leader." Randolph added, "Roy White taught me how to be my best and to lead with quiet dignity ― what some might call 'class.' "


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White's Move to Japan in 1980


White was limited to 81 games in 1979, his fewest in the majors since 1967. And after that turmoil-filled season (including the death of team captain and starting catcher Thurman Munson in a private plane crash), he found out he wasn't in the Yankees plans for 1980.

When one door closed, another opportunity presented itself to White: an enticing, two-year deal ($500,000 USD) to join the Yomiuri Giants. Upon his arrival in Japan in March 1980, White awaited a big introduction, even if sleep might've been at the top of his wish list. And a flight attendant told White he'd be the final passenger to exit the plane. A big throng of reporters was there to probe his mind about his thoughts on the upcoming season. "The most popular question I was asked in that press conference was, 'How many home runs will you hit?' " White recalled in the book. "I'd be asked that a lot in my years in Japan. I remember responding that I was a winning ballplayer." He went on: "I didn't want to get into predications like that, I wasn't even a home run hitter." That's true. Of White's 1,803 MLB hits, 160 were home runs. He had an MLB career-best 22 round-trippers in 1970. He also stole 233 bases and had a lifetime MLB average of .271.

Seven-time Pacific League batting champion Isao Harimoto played for the Central League's Giants from 1976-79, and White was given Harimoto's former jersey (No. 10). It was a big deal to White. "Isao Harimoto is a legend in Japan," said White of the only player with 3,000 career hits in NPB. "I learned quickly that number 10 was a great number to have."


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You can read more HERE!

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