BY David Eskenazi 06:03AM 12/14/2010

Wayback Machine: Sammy White

Sammy White starred in basketball at the UW before an 11-year MLB career.

The UW featured Sammy White on the cover of its 1948-1949 basketball media guide / David Eskenazi Collection

By David Eskenazi

Before embarking on an 11-year major league baseball career, Wenatchee native Sammy White was an All-American basketball player at the University of Washington (1948-49).

His first year in pro baseball was with the hometown Seattle Rainiers in 1949, where he hit .301 in 60 games before being sold to the Boston Red Sox.

David Eskenazi Collection

With Boston, White became an All-Star in 1953, and enjoyed his best statistical year in 1954, when he hit .282 with 14 home runs and 75 RBIs. After nine productive seasons with the Red Sox, White went to the Cleveland Indians in a trade prior to the 1960 season. White balked at the swap, sat out the year, and returned in 1961 with the Braves. He finished his career with the Phillies in 1962.

Among White’s most notable Major League moments: On June 18, 1953, White went 4-for-6, had two RBIs, and became the only 20th-century player to score three runs in one inning (Red Sox tallied 17 runs in the bottom of the seventh vs. Detroit); on May 1, 1955, his seventh-inning single broke up a potential no-hitter by Bob Feller, who finished with a one-hitter (12th of his career); and on July 14, 1956, White caught a Mel Parnell no-hitter.

Casey Stengel, the legendary Yankees manager, once remarked of White: “He steals more strikes from umpires than anyone else. I’m not being critical. I’m just bowing to his skill.”

The multi-talented White signed a professional basketball contract with the Minneapolis Lakers before the Red Sox disabused him of this idea. Years later, White added professional bowler and golfer to his athletic resume.

Full cover of the 1948-49 UW Basketball Media Guide / Dave Eskanazi Collection

White spent his final years in Hawaii, where he died on Aug. 4, 1991.

Sports historian Dave Eskenazi can be reached at (206) 441-1900, or at


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