Monday, July 7, 2014

Sox Backstop Of Fifties Would Have Been 87

Sammy White (1927-1991)
Sammy White, the vastly under-appreciated catcher of the Red Sox in the 1950s, would have been 87 years old today. White passed away in 1991 at the far too young age of 64. For those of us who grew up with the awful Boston teams of that era, it was generally accepted that everyone on the team (beyond Ted Williams, Jackie Jensen and Frank Malzone) was just plain lousy. Not so. As FN Editor Larry Shiman has pointed out, "In the early 50’s he [White] was quite good, hitting around .270 with some power. Those teams weren’t particularly memorable, so White isn’t remembered much, but he was a pretty good player for a few years." In fact, Shiman rated him the sixth best Red Sox catcher ever. White famously owned a local bowladrome ("Sammy White's Brighton Bowl") that brought some unwanted attention to the former Sox catcher after his retirement. A vicious quadruple murder took place at the site in 1980, where four bowladrome employees were bludgeoned (ironically with a bowling pin) and shot execution-style. A Somerville cabbie (and former employee) was eventually convicted of the crime. In any event, we should remember White for being a pretty darn good catcher during a dismal decade.