James Laurie "Deacon" White (December 2, 1847 – July 7, 1939) was an American baseball player who was one of the principal stars during the first two decades of the sport's professional era. The outstanding catcher of the 1870s during baseball's barehanded period, he caught more games than any other player during the decade, and was a major figure on five consecutive championship teams from 1873 to 1877 – three in the National Association (NA), in which he played throughout its five-year existence from 1871 to 1875, and two in the National League (NL), which was formed as the first fully recognized major league in 1876, partially as a result of White and three other stars moving from the powerhouse Boston Red Stockings to the Chicago White Stockings. Although he was already 28 when the NL was established, White played 15 seasons in the major leagues, completing a 23-year career at the top levels of the sport.
In 1871, White was the first batter to come to the plate in the National Association, the first professional baseball league. After compiling a .347 batting average over five NA seasons, he led the NL in runs batted in (RBI) in its first two seasons of play, and also led the league in batting (.387), slugging average, hits, triples and total bases in a brief shift to first base in 1877. For three years afterward, he joined his younger brother Will, a successful pitcher, with the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Stars. In his mid-30s he became an effective third baseman when the toil of catching had become too great, and was a major force on the championship Detroit Wolverines team of 1887, batting .303 at age 39. Over the 20-year period of his career, White batted .312 and had more RBI (988) than any player except Cap Anson. Upon his retirement, he was among baseball's all-time leaders in career games, at bats, hits and total bases. He ranked fourth in career total chances at third base, fifth in assists, and sixth in putouts and double plays. White was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
White in 1888
|Third baseman / Catcher|
|Born: December 2, 1847|
Caton, New York
|Died: July 7, 1939 (aged 91)|
St. Charles Township, Illinois
|May 4, 1871, for the Cleveland Forest Citys|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1890, for the Buffalo Bisons|
|Runs batted in||988|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Pre-Integration Era Committee|
White was born in Caton, New York, the son of farmer Lester S. White (born c. 1820) and his wife Adeline (born c. 1823). The couple had at least eight children: Oscar Leroy (born c. 1844), James, Elmer Melville (born c. 1851), William (1854 – 1911), Phebe Davis (born c. 1856), Estelle (born c. 1858), George (c. 1862 – after 1939) and Hattie (born c. 1867); they also adopted a girl named Phebe Maynard (born c. 1876) when they were in their fifties. White's ancestors likely immigrated to America during the Colonial period. His cousin Elmer White also played baseball professionally as James' teammate in 1871; in March 1872, Elmer was the first recorded professional baseball player to die.
White learned baseball from a Union soldier who returned to his hometown after the Civil War in 1865. His pro career began in 1868 with the Cleveland Forest Citys club, at a time when no team was entirely composed of professional players. He earned the first hit in baseball's first fully professional league – a double off Bobby Mathews of the Fort Wayne Kekiongas in the first inning of the first game in National Association history on May 4, 1871; he also made the first catch. His long career allowed him to play with many of the legendary figures of 19th-century professional baseball; White played on the great National Association Boston Red Stockings teams of the early 1870s, and also played with Cap Anson and Al Spalding in Chicago, King Kelly in Cincinnati, Dan Brouthers in Buffalo, and Ned Hanlon and Sam Thompson in Detroit, as well as Jake Beckley and Pud Galvin in Pittsburgh.
White led his league in batting average twice (including the NA in 1875), and in RBI three times (including the NA in 1873); not until 1953, when Roy Campanella topped the NL, would another catcher lead his league in RBI. White started out early enough to have played against the undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, baseball's first all-professional team. He was considered the best barehanded catcher of his time, as well as one of the best third baseman during the second half of his career; his combined total of games caught in the NA and NL was eventually passed by Pop Snyder in 1881. On May 16, 1884 White recorded 11 assists at third base, which remains the major league record for a nine-inning game although eight other players have since tied the mark. In the rough-and-tumble 19th-century baseball era, White was a nonsmoking, Bible-toting, church-going deacon.
In 1889, the contracts of White and teammate Jack Rowe were sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, but the pair refused to report unless they were paid additional money, leading to a protracted dispute. Eventually the two men were paid, with White telling a reporter, "We appreciate the money, but we ain't worth it. Rowe's arm is gone. I'm over 40 and my fielding ain't so good, though I can still hit some. But I will say this. No man is going to sell my carcass unless I get half." Complaints like this were part of the reason that the Players' League was formed in 1890.
According to historian Lee Allen in The National League Story (1961), White believed that the earth is flat. He tried and failed to convince his teammates that they were living on a flat plane and not a globe; they ridiculed him. Then one asked to be convinced, and the Deacon gave him an argument suited to the hypothesis that the earth is not really turning. He convinced the teammate but the argument would not prove that the earth is not a sphere.
White's playing career ended after the 1890 season. Over the 20-year period from 1871 to 1890, White batted .312 and had more RBI (988) than any player except Cap Anson, and also ranked fourth in career games (1,560), at bats (6,624), hits (2,066) and total bases (2,595). He also ended his career ranking fourth in major league history in games (826) and total chances (3,016) at third base, fifth in assists (1,618), and sixth in putouts (954) and double plays (118).
White managed the minor league club Elmira Gladiators of the New York–Pennsylvania League in 1891. He has been incorrectly credited with managing the McAlester Miners of the Oklahoma–Arkansas–Kansas League (1907) and the Tulsa Oilers of the Oklahoma–Kansas League (1908). Both teams were actually managed by Harry B. "Deacon" White.
White married Marium Van Arsdale (born 1851 in Moravia, New York) on April 24, 1871. For much of his career, they lived on his farm in Corning, New York; they moved to Buffalo after he joined the Bisons in 1881. Their only child, Grace Hughson White, was born in Buffalo on September 8, 1882. The family moved to Detroit when White began playing for the Wolverines, but soon returned to Buffalo; by 1900 he was operating a successful livery stable there.
Sometime after 1900, the Whites sent Grace to Mendota College in Mendota, Illinois, beginning a family association with the Advent Christian school which would endure across multiple generations. By 1909, James and Marium had also moved to Mendota, where they became the head residents at Maple Hall, the young ladies' dormitory, until 1912. On August 15, 1912, Grace married fellow Mendota alumnus Roger A. Watkins at the dormitory; that year, the college had relocated fifty miles to the east, becoming Aurora College. Marium died on April 30, 1914 in Mendota; one of Aurora's students recalled of "Ma" White: "She was of a cheery disposition, with a word and a smile for all; mingling with the girls as one of us; giving kindly counsel and encouragement. Her interest in each girl is expressed in her own words: 'I am only doing what I would like to have some one else do for my girl, if she were away from home.' Words cannot express our appreciation of such kind and personal interest." Roger and Grace Watkins continued to be involved with the college, and moved to Aurora in 1920; in 1927 Roger joined the college's board of directors, serving until 1971, all but the first two years also as the board's secretary. By 1930 Deacon White had remarried, and with his wife Alice moved into the Watkins home at 221 Calumet Avenue, next door to the college president.
White died at age 91 in the early morning of July 7, 1939 at the Watkins' summer cottage at Rude Camp, the college's retreat on the Fox River in St. Charles Township; having been in good health, his death was attributed to a disastrous heat wave. He had been scheduled to be the principal guest of honor at Aurora's celebration of baseball's centennial the following day; the festivities instead featured a tribute to his memory. White had been greatly disappointed over not having been invited to the opening ceremonies to the Baseball Hall of Fame that summer, having been completely overlooked in the voting for inductees. His funeral was held at Aurora's Healy Chapel, and he was buried at Restland Cemetery in Mendota. He was survived by his second wife Alice, who had been staying in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the time of his death, by his younger brother George, and by his daughter Grace (1882–1956) and her husband Roger (1888–1977).
In August 2008, White was named as one of ten former players who began their careers before 1943 to be considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009; although he fell short in final voting, he received the most votes of any player whose career ended before 1940. In 2010, the Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research named White the year's Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend — a 19th-century player, manager, executive or other baseball personality not yet inducted into the Hall of Fame.
On December 3, 2012 the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the new Pre-Integration Era Committee (pre-1947 era), receiving 14 out of 16 votes; he and two others elected by the Committee were inducted on July 28, 2013, with his acceptance speech given by his great-grandson Jerry Watkins, the son of White's grandson Daniel. With over 166 years between his birth and date of induction, White is the oldest person ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
| Cincinnati Reds (1876–1880) Managers
The Cleveland Forest Citys played their first season in 1871 as a charter member of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. They finished eighth in the league with a record of 10-19. Pitcher Al Pratt led the NA in strikeouts, with 34.1873 Boston Red Stockings season
The 1873 Boston Red Stockings season was the third season of the franchise. They won their second consecutive National Association championship.
Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 43–16 to win the pennant by 4 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 54 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 41 wins. Second baseman Ross Barnes won the league batting title with a .431 batting average, and catcher Deacon White topped the circuit with 77 runs batted in.
Harry Wright, Al Spalding, first baseman Jim O'Rourke, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.1874 Boston Red Stockings season
The 1874 Boston Red Stockings season was the fourth season of the franchise. They won their third consecutive National Association championship.
Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 52–18 to win the pennant by 7.5 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 69 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 52 wins. Outfielder Cal McVey led the league with 71 runs batted in, and he paced the Boston offense which scored more runs than any other team.
Harry Wright, Al Spalding, first baseman Jim O'Rourke, catcher Deacon White, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.1875 Boston Red Stockings season
The 1875 Boston Red Stockings season was the fifth season of the Boston Red Stockings franchise. They won their fourth consecutive National Association championship.
Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 71–8 to win the pennant by 15 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 62 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 54 wins. Catcher Deacon White (.367), second baseman Ross Barnes (.364), and first baseman Cal McVey (.355) finished 1–2–3 in the league's batting race. McVey paced the circuit with 87 runs batted in, and outfielder Jim O'Rourke had the most home runs, with 6. The Boston offense scored more runs than any other team in the NA. According to the FiveThirtyEight ELO rating system, they are the greatest team of all time. 
Harry Wright, Al Spalding, Jim O'Rourke, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This was the last season of the Association, which dissolved at the end of the year. The Red Stockings club would join the new National League in 1876.1876 Chicago White Stockings season
The 1876 Chicago White Stockings season was the 5th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 1st in the National League and the 3rd at 23rd Street Grounds. The White Stockings, as one of the founding members of the new National League, won the NL's initial championship during this season with a record of 52–14.1877 Boston Red Caps season
The 1877 Boston Red Caps season was the seventh season of the franchise. Arthur Soden became the new owner of the franchise, who won their first ever National League pennant.1879 Cincinnati Reds season
The 1879 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the National League with a record of 43–37, 14 games behind the Providence Grays.1887 Detroit Wolverines season
The 1887 Detroit Wolverines season was a season in American baseball. The team won the 1887 National League pennant, then defeated the St. Louis Browns in the 1887 World Series. The season was the team's seventh since it entered the National League in 1881. It was the first World Series championship for the Detroit Wolverines and the City of Detroit.2013 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2013 took place according to rules most recently revised in July 2010. As in the past, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from a ballot of recently retired players, with results announced on January 9, 2013. The Pre-Integration Committee, the last of three new voting committees established during the July 2010 rules change to replace the more broadly defined Veterans Committee, convened early in December 2012 to select from a ballot of players and non-playing personnel who made their greatest contributions to the sport prior to 1947, called the "Pre-Integration Era" by the Hall of Fame.For the first time since 1996 (and just the third time since 1960), the BBWAA election resulted in no selections; as the ballot featured numerous strong candidates, the result was widely viewed as a reflection of the deep controversy over players who were primarily active during a period when the sport was riddled with rumored use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), and candidates appeared to have suffered in the voting regardless of whether they had been closely tied to any such rumors. The controversy's first major impact on the Hall of Fame ballot was seen in 2007, and the arrival in future years of additional candidates with either alleged or actual links to PED use suggested that the issue would be significant in Hall voting for at least several more years.
For the first time since 1965, there were no living inductees. The induction class of 2013 consisted of the three deceased individuals elected by the new Pre-Integration Committee: player Deacon White, umpire Hank O'Day, and executive Jacob Ruppert, all of whom died in the 1930s. As was the case following the 1965 election–which also resulted only in the induction of a member deceased for over 60 years, and led to the resumption of annual BBWAA elections–the voting results led to calls for revision of the voting rules.The induction ceremonies were held on July 28, 2013 at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. On July 27, the Hall of Fame presented two annual awards for media excellence—its own Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters and the BBWAA's J. G. Taylor Spink Award for writers, and also honored sports medicine pioneer Dr. Frank Jobe and filmmaker Thomas Tull, producer of the 2013 film 42.Buffalo Bisons (PL)
The Buffalo Bisons of 1890 were a member of the short-lived Players' League. This baseball team was managed by Jack Rowe and Jay Faatz, and they finished eighth (last) with a record of 36-96 while playing their home games at Olympic Park. Hall of Famer Connie Mack was a part-owner of the franchise, having invested his life savings of $500 in the team, none of which he ever recouped.
In addition to owning part of the team, Mack also played catcher, batting .266 in 123 games with the league. Famed deaf player Dummy Hoy played for the 1890 Bisons, as did two players who appeared in the previous NL incarnation of the Bisons, Jack Rowe and Deacon White.
The PL Bisons were an "outlaw" franchise that played concurrently with the minor league Buffalo Bisons and apparently used the stock Bisons name without the permission of the established club; the Players' League club also acquired the lease to Olympic Park for the seasons, forcing the "legitimate" Bisons to play elsewhere. They settled on the amateur Buffalo Baseball League's grounds near East Genesee Street and the Belt Line Railroad. They moved back to Olympic Park after the Players' League folded. The current Bisons franchise does not recognize the PL Bisons as part of their history.Cincinnati Reds (1876–79)
The Cincinnati Reds, also known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, were a professional baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio that played from 1875–1879. The club predated the National League of which it became a charter member.Detroit Wolverines
The Detroit Wolverines were a 19th-century Major League Baseball team that played in the National League from 1881 to 1888 in the city of Detroit, Michigan. In total, they won 426 games and lost 437, taking their lone pennant (and winning the pre-modern World Series) in 1887. The team was disbanded following the 1888 season.Jack Rowe
John Charles "Jack" Rowe (December 8, 1856 – April 25, 1911) was an American professional baseball player, manager and team owner from 1877 to 1898. He played 12 years in Major League Baseball, as a shortstop (657 games), catcher (298 games), and outfielder (103 games), for four major league clubs. His longest stretches were in the National League with the Buffalo Bisons (1879–1885) and Detroit Wolverines (1886–1888). He was also a player-manager and part owner of the Buffalo Bisons of the Players' League in 1890, and the manager of the Buffalo Bisons (Eastern League) from 1896 to 1898.
Rowe appeared in 1,044 major league games, compiled a .286 batting average and .392 slugging percentage, and totaled 764 runs scored, 1,256 hits, 202 doubles, 88 triples, 28 home runs, and 644 RBIs. From 1881 to 1888, he was part of the "Big Four", a group of renowned batters (the others being Dan Brouthers, Hardy Richardson, and Deacon White) who played together in Buffalo and Detroit and led Detroit to the National League pennant and 1887 World Series championship.List of Major League Baseball annual runs batted in leaders
In baseball, a run batted in (RBI) is awarded to a batter for each runner who scores as a result of the batter's action, including a hit, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, bases loaded walk, or hit by pitch. A batter is also awarded an RBI for scoring himself upon hitting a home run. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the "RBI crown" or "RBI title" each season by hitting the most runs batted in that year.
The first RBI champion in the National League (NL) was Deacon White; in the league's inaugural 1876 season, White hit 60 RBIs for the Chicago White Stockings. The American League (AL) was established in 1901, and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led that league with 125 RBIs for the Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 27-season career, Cap Anson led the NL in RBI eight times. Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner have the second- and third-most RBI titles, respectively: Ruth with six, and Wagner with five. Several players are tied for the most consecutive seasons led with three: Anson (twice), Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Ruth, Joe Medwick, George Foster, and Cecil Fielder. Notably, Matt Holliday won the NL title in 2007 by one RBI over Ryan Howard, only overtaking Howard due to his performance in the 2007 National League Wild Card tie-breaker game. Had Howard won the 2007 title, he would have led the NL in a record four consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2009. The most recent champions are Edwin Encarnación in the American League, and Nolan Arenado in the National League.
Sam Thompson was the first to set a single-season RBI record that stood for more than three seasons, hitting 166 in 1887. Thompson's title that season also represented the widest margin of victory for an RBI champion as he topped the next highest total by 62 RBIs. The single-season mark of 166 stood for over thirty years until Babe Ruth hit 171 in 1921. Ruth's mark was then broken by teammate Lou Gehrig six seasons later in 1927 when Gehrig hit 175 RBI. Finally, Hack Wilson set the current record mark of 191 RBI in 1930 with the Chicago Cubs. The all-time career RBI record holder is Hank Aaron with 2,297, 84 more than Ruth in second place. Aaron led the National League in RBI four times, never consecutively. The 1930 season when Wilson set the record saw four players hit more than 160 RBI: Wilson, Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Al Simmons. A player has batted in 160 or more runs 21 times, with 14 of these seasons occurring during the 1930s and only twice since 1940. The lowest RBI total to ever lead a major league was 49, by Deacon White in the National League's second season.List of Major League Baseball career fielding errors leaders
In baseball statistics, an error is an act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to advance one or more bases or allows an at bat to continue after the batter should have been put out.
Herman Long is the all-time leader in errors, committing 1,096 in his career. Bill Dahlen (1,080), Deacon White (1,018), and Germany Smith (1,009) are the only other players to commit over 1,000 career errors. Tommy Corcoran (992), Fred Pfeffer (980), Cap Anson (976), and John Montgomery Ward (952) are the only other players to commit over 900 career errors.Oklahoma–Kansas League
The Oklahoma–Kansas League was a six-team minor baseball league that existed in 1908. As its name indicates, it consisted of teams from Oklahoma and Kansas.
The teams in the league were the Bartlesville Boosters, Independence Jewelers, Iola Champs, McAlester Miners, Muskogee Redskins and Tulsa Oilers.Notable players include Larry Cheney, Joe Kelly and Ray Powell. Long-time major league player Deacon White managed in the league.
Before the season ended, McAlister and Iola disbanded. Tulsa won the league finals.Ross Barnes
Charles Roscoe Barnes (May 8, 1850 – February 5, 1915) was one of the stars of baseball's National Association (1871–75) and the early National League (1876–81), playing second base and shortstop. He played for the dominant Boston Red Stockings teams of the early 1870s, along with Albert Spalding, Cal McVey, George Wright, Harry Wright, Jim O'Rourke, and Deacon White. Despite playing for these star-studded teams, many claim that Ross was the most valuable to his teams.Will White
William Henry "Whoop-La" White (October 11, 1854 – August 31, 1911) was an American baseball pitcher and manager from 1875 to 1889. He played all or parts of 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds in the National League (1878–1879) and the Cincinnati Red Stockings in the American Association (1882–1886). He had three 40-win, and one 40-loss, seasons in Cincinnati. During the 1882 and 1883 seasons, he led the American Association in wins, compiling an 83–34 win–loss record and a 1.84 earned run average (ERA).
Over the course of 10 major league seasons, White compiled a 229–166 record with a 2.28 ERA. His career ERA ranks ninth on the all-time list of Major League Baseball career ERA leaders. White also set a number of major league pitching records and still holds several. His 1879 totals of 75 complete games, 75 games started, 680 innings pitched, and 2,906 batters faced remain major league records. He was also the player-manager of the Red Stockings for 71 games during the 1884 season, compiling a 44–27 managerial record. He is also remembered as the first, and for many years only, major league player to wear eyeglasses on the baseball field.William Deacon White
William Freeman "Deacon" White (December 6, 1878 – November 1, 1939) was an American educator and an athlete, coach, manager, owner and promoter of multiple sports, known as the "King of Sports" in Edmonton, Alberta during the 1920s. His is remembered as founder of multiple sports teams and the first coach of the Edmonton Eskimos football team. A book-length biography of him called him "the founder of modern sports in Edmonton".
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
|Ford C. Frick Award|