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Roy White

December 27, 2017

Roy White

Roy White was a philosophical conundrum: Roy White was a Yankee and Yankees suck so Roy White should suck, but he didn’t. Reggie, Nettles, Gossage, Piniella, Steinbrenner, most especially that feathered-haircut shithead at shortstop: they sucked. But Roy White? He seemed OK. He seemed like the kind of guy who would help you out if you lost your mom in a supermarket. He’d at least take you over to where they could call your mom on the store PA. He’d probably say something fairly reassuring and stand around for a little while as you waited. Anyway, I like this card, which is not nothing. Our world seems pretty messed up these days, a fractured thing, divided, maybe unfixable, so I’ve decided to celebrate the fact that it’s possible to say something positive about a card featuring a Yankee. Honestly I find myself reluctant to say simply that I like this card, as if the meaning I’ve carved out for myself in this life rests to some extent on the duality I embraced as a child that was based in the ineluctable truth that Yankees Suck. But I can at least say that I like some things about this card. I like that Carlton Fisk is on this card. His birthday was yesterday. Roy White’s is today. I like that odd near-connection, as if they almost share something happy and irrelevant and invisible. I like the red helmet on Fisk. I like the look on Fisk’s face, which seems in its relative placidity and the angle of his gaze to suggest that the batted ball is on its way to Rick Burleson at shortstop, no trouble at all. But it’s not only Fisk that I like here. I like the tendons standing out on Roy White’s neck, and his expression too, which is so alert and awake as to suggest that this moment and any moment can transcend hope and whatever is the opposite of hope, that if you’re devoting yourself fully enough to paying attention to what’s unfolding in front of you, the beauty of life can manifest everywhere, even in a routine grounder to short, even on the card of a New York Yankee. I like his footwork, not only in that he is wearing Pumas, to me the coolest brand forever and always, but in that his front foot is cocked and turning toward first and no matter the relative likelihood of reaching base Roy White is about to break into a run. What is more beautiful than that feeling of running as fast as you can to first? Maybe only the possibility itself of reaching first safely, which I would never wish for a Yankee but which I am able to nonetheless ponder in its abstract by virtue of this card and most specifically by the somewhat bulky object in Roy White’s back pocket. I think this must be the soft cap he wore while manning the outfield. Back in those days players could still choose to discard their hard batting helmets once they reached base and replace it with their cap. Roy White was ready for this, and I find myself feeling that readiness too. Good things may yet happen in this world.

3 comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean about this card. I have it, too, and it’s one of my favorite Yankees cards. Having Fisk in there is cool, and both of their expressions are about focus. No superstar ego. Just being connected to the moment. As a New Englander who grew up a Yankees fan surrounded by Red Sox fans, my friends were all pretty much like you in their opinion of Nettles, Dent, Munson, Jackson, etc. But nobody hated Roy White. How can you hate Roy White?? Thank goodness for the Roy Whites of the world. Thanks for posting this.


  2. Also, the devil-may-care attitude shown by the wearing of a batting helmet without an ear guard. I remember an earlier White card in which he sported awesome sideburns and what appeared to be an unusually small bat.


  3. He had some good cards. I like the one from ’79 where he seems to be leaning over to peek around an invisible corner.



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