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Devon White

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  • Post last modified:1 May 2024

Nickname: Devo


I’ll be honest, I am not sure how much of an obscure athlete this guy really is. I know he is loved in Toronto based on his time with the Blue Jays, but I am not sure if he receives that love anywhere else. I don’t hear his name being brought up in too many baseball discussions online and he is not in the Hall of Fame. He is listed as one of the top or best players to not be in Cooperstown, but I still feel like people don’t know how crazy he was defensively. Honestly, I had to be reminded how much ground this dude could cover in centerfield. Regardless (or “irregardless” as Tony Soprano says), let’s dive into this Half Obscure/Half wait-yeah-I-know-him-he’s-not-an-obscure-athlete Athlete (was that English?).

Devon White first entered my mind when I was playing Instructional League when I was in about first grade. Teams often rotated fielders every inning to give everyone a chance at playing a position and to also give the moms different angles at a potential action shot for their scrapbooks. Now I can’t tell you the specific inning or situation, but when I was in centerfield, a what should of been routine fly ball was hit to me and as I looked up, I was properly introduced to Mr. Sun. Obviously now that my retinas were now burned and useless, the ball dropped right in front of my feet and I heard the whole crowd of parents go “AWWWWW.” Mr. Sun was not the only person that I met that day as I was then very abruptly introduced to Mr. Shame as I jogged back to the dugout after the inning was over. When greeted by my coach, I specifically remember him saying “Ah don’t worry about that Will! Even Devon White made some mistakes out there!” My first initial reaction was “Thanks a lot Coach, I don’t even know who the **** Devon White is, but he must suck” (Alright, no I did not drop the F-bomb in my head. I probably said the worst word I know at that time which was probably heck. **** just sounded cooler, though). Now this moment did not really start an obsession with Devon White. I honestly just looked him up on my dad’s computer and saw a few of his highlights and that was that. As I grew older, he honestly became irrelevant to me. I would hear his name sometimes in YouTube videos or even on Twitter (or X, whatever it is) threads, but that was really it. Somehow, someway though, him and I are connected based on the fact that he also probably made a laughable error in centerfield just like I did (yeah, I know he didn’t, but I can pretend at least, right?).

Why He Should be Remembered

White, who changed his name back to its original spelling Whyte in 2003, suited up for six clubs during his 17 year MLB career. He won three World Series, seven Gold Gloves, and was named to three All-Star teams. For his career he amassed 1,934 hits, 208 home runs, had a .263 BA, and nabbed 346 stolen bases. These numbers did not get him into the Hall of Fame as he received a whopping zero votes when he was eligible in 2007. In fact, he is one of only two players to earn seven Gold Gloves and receive zero votes for the Hall of Fame (other being Garry Maddox). His defensive range is all time as his 133 runs above average ranks him fifth all-time among centerfielders and he was the Arizona Diamondbacks first ever All-Star in 1998.

A quick search of him on YouTube and there is not that many videos of him making spectacular catches out in center. But this is because the dude got to every ball in his area. His speed and reaction time prevented him from tumbling and diving for the ball a lot. He made what was probably difficult plays for others look routine, almost boring. One play that sticks out however, is one of the greatest World Series’ plays in MLB history. Let me set the stage:

In the top of the fourth in Game 3 of the 1992 World Series, White’s Blue Jays were in an even 0-0 score with the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta’s David Justice was up to bat with Terry Pendleton on first and Deion Sanders (yes, Primetime) on second. Justice drilled a shot deep into center towards White and well….

Hopefully a YouTube ad didn’t kill any momentum you had while watching that, but yeah. That was a ridiculous play and very easily could have been a triple play.

Why He Is Not Remembered

So we know how insane of an outfielder White was (I didn’t even do him justice with my short description of him. I highly recommend looking up some of his numbers yourself and then of course memorizing them and coming back in two weeks for a pop quiz), but his hitting was something to be desired. He was an aggressive switch-hitter, but didn’t really have a lot of power. He relied heavily on his speed to get on to base and worked hard on his craft to become a good bunter. He may have been miscast as a leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays and could have walked more, but I mean he wasn’t atrocious at the plate. He simply is overshadowed in my opinion, whether by his own teammates or other faces in the league. Anyone that saw him play would tell you about his defensive prowess, but again there’s not a plethora of defensive highlights. I’m not even sure how always having great positioning while fielding is a knock on someone, but in White’s case it almost is.

Where He Is Now

White has been involved with coaching ever since his retirement after the 2001 season. He currently is the first base coach for the Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, the Buffalo Bison. In his role, he focuses on outfield and base-running, his two specialties throughout his 17 year career.