Sunday, August 14, 2005

Editor's Note: I have, to this point, personally written--or at least typed--all but one of the entries that have appeared under the Annotated Day banner. This is however, my only full week between the end of my summer occupation and the return to my final year of school. I am therefore taking it off, and entrusting these days to a variety of guest writers. The first is my father, Ernest. The man is, more than anyone else, the reason I follow the Yankees beyond all logic and the reason I write this blog. Today he discusses one of the more underappreciated players in Yankee history, a man Bill James ranks as the twenty-fifth best left fielder in history, ahead of names like Jim Rice, Joe Carter and Kirk Gibson.

August 14th, 1979

Rangers Play at Yankees

1979 was not a good year for the Yankees. Nor was it a good year for Roy White. It was Roy’s last year with the team. This game was indicative though, of Roy’s play for the Yankees and why he is my favorite Yankee I have seen play, no small feat as I have seen practically every Yankee from Yogi Berra to Derek Jeter, even as much as it pains me to admit it, Horace Clarke.

Going into the bottom of the eighth the Yanks trailed 3-5. After Nettles made out, Piniella doubled and went to third on an error. Roy pinch hit and singled, driving in Piniella. 5-4 Texas. He later scored on a Bobby Murcer home run. 6-5 Yankees. Roy drove in the 4th Yankee run and scored the 5th and tying run. It was a quintessential Roy White performance; he simply did his job and the Yankees won with Roy right in the middle of it.

When you see those clips of Bucky Dent’s famous (or if you’re a Boston Fan, infamous) home run, notice
Roy greeting Bucky at home plate. He was on base when the ball cleared the Green Monster. As a matter of fact look at any of the clips from the era of the “Bronx Zoo” Yankees; you’ll be amazed at how often you see Roy right there in the middle of the action. He played with grace and a quiet fire. I suspect he didn’t like to lose or to call attention to himself. He was a homegrown Yankee who was always right there when something good happened to the Yankees.

Sometime in the near future I imagine Joe Torre’s number six will be retired to Monument Park. I look forward to the day when I am sitting in the stands and the guy next to me is trying to remember who all the numbers belong to. When he gets to 6 I am going to say Roy White.

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