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NEGRO LEAGUER OF THE MONTH
One of the most talented and roughest Negro Leaguers of the 1920s, Chaney White starred for almost 20 years as a preeminent professional outfielder.
White was born in Longview, Texas and played top semipro ball in Dallas before signing with the Hilldale Daisies in 1919. In 1920, White tried out for Rube Foster’s Chicago American Giants but was deemed not good enough, so he returned to the Hilldales where he batted third in the lineup and played all three outfield positions.
In his prime, White was a wonderful center fielder with blazing speed and great range, and he batted in the .370-range with the ability to hit 30 homers and steal 50 bases in a full season. White was the rarest of players, as he batted right-handed but threw left-handed; Rickey Henderson might be the only other famous player to do so.
White, a gentleman off the field, was known as a rough character on the field, almost a Ty Cobb-like player. Rarely did White pass up a chance to ferociously break up a double-play with his sharpened spikes, and he relished collisions at home plate!
Renowned Negro League catcher Larry Brown said that White was “built like King Kong, but could run like Jesse Owens...cut my shin guards off once." White also had a famous collision at home with a young Josh Gibson when he nearly undressed the future Hall of Famer with a viscious slide.
In 1926 and ‘27, White played in the Negro League World Series as leadoff batter for the Hilldales, but lost both years to the Chicago American Giants, though he did steal five of six bases in the ‘27 Series.
In 1930, White, 36-years-of-age, played with Gibson with the Homestead Grays, and batted .314 in league games to Gibson’s .338.
As White grew older he shifted from center to right field, but he still batted over .300 as he passed 40.
In 1934, White batted .300 with the Philadelphia Stars at age 40, he slumped to the around .250 in ‘35 before finishing close to .400 in limited time with the New York Cubans in ‘36 where he joined Martin Dihigo (.330 in league play), Alec Radcliffe (.328) and Jud Wilson (.274), as well as pitcher Luis Tiant, Sr. and Chet Brewer.