On this date 40 years ago the Yankees become the first team to be covered by an African-American television announcer when WPIX hires former Cardinals first baseman Bill White to call games.
White made his major league debut in New York in 1956, playing 138 games with the Giants. But he lost his job when another future Cardinals first baseman, Orlando Cepeda, took over his position while White spend 1958 serving in the Army. He was traded to the Cardinals in 1959 where he became one of the top first sackers in baseball. From 1959-65 in St. Louis, White was named to the All Star Game in five seasons and won six Gold Glove awards. He was a .298 hitter in that stretch (.289 overall for his career) and he hit 20 or more homers in all but one of his years with the Birds.
In 1966 White was traded to the Phillies and his Cardinals buddy Bob Gibson famously pelted him with a pitch to let the smooth first baseman know that they couldn't be pals when they were wearing different uniforms. Later that season, the Birds traded for Cepeda to fill the hole at first base created in their lineup when White was dealt away.
White cut his teeth in broadcasting with a radio show on St. Louis radio station KMOX during his playing days with the Cardinals. He retired from baseball after returning to the Redbirds for the 1969 season.
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His career at WPIX lasted until 1988. His most famous call came in 1978 when he was at the microphone for Bucky Dent's Green Monster homer in a one-game playoff against the Red Sox.
After his broadcasting days, White became president of the National League from 1989-94.