Kenny and I ventured into NYC to Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant on Tuesday Night for ex-Yank Roy White’s press conference to announce he was starting this year’s Runyon’s 5K Race at Yankee Stadium. In addition to eating some delicious food and mingling with various runners, we had a few minutes to listen to Roy talk about his playing experience with the New York Yankees. Mr. White played alongside Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and Reggie Jackson. How many Yankees can attest to that? Mr. White was an even nicer person and had a lot of interesting facts to share that not many fans may know..
Background on Roy White
- Left fielder with the Yankees (1964-1979)
- 2x All-Star (1969, 1970)
- 2x World Series Champion (1977, 1978)
- Switch hitter who homered from both sides of the plate five times in his career
- 233 career stolen bases (3rd among Yankees)
- AL record 17 sacrifice flies in 1975 (the record still stands)
- First Yankee ever to record a 1.000 field percentage in a single season (1975)
Question: Talk about a player who you idolized when you first came up in 1964.
RW: I really tried to emulate Bobby Richardson. I originally came up as a second baseman and Bobby was just so smooth in the field. He handled himself the right way and I knew he was a great guy to mirror.
Question: 17 Sac Flies is a ton for a single season. Where you trying to hit fly balls or did they just end up being sac flies?
RW: To be honest, I really just choked up on the bat and tried to put a good swing on the ball. I never swung as hard as I could. I just wanted to get the job done.
Question: You weren’t a physically intimidating player, but you managed to hit 160 career HRs. How’d you generate so much power?
RW: It was all about bat speed and hand placement. I was notorious for keeping my hands low and that actually happened by mistake. Elston Howard was throwing me batting practice during Spring Training. He delivered a pitch when I was looking, but when I finally picked up on the ball, I crushed it to right center. He said that my hand were very low (parallel to the interlocking NY on the Yankee jersey) so I just stuck with it.
Question: Your game seems to parallel Brett Gardner’s in terms of defense and speed. Do you agree?
RW: Gardner is a lot faster than I was. Haha. But there are definitely some similarities between us. We both spray the ball to the opposite field rather well and play solid defense.
Question: Take us back to the ’76 World Series. Were you disappointed with the sweep to Cincinnati?
RW: I wasn’t disappointed at all. At that point, I felt like I was playing with house money. I endured 12 long seasons before that and just to be in the World Series was great.
Question: How was Billy Martin as a manager?
RW: Completely unpredictable. I was in left field when Billy took Reggie Jackson out of right field, mid-inning. (Reggie didn’t hustle in order to catch a fly ball). He was a crafty, passion guy who I had a lot of respect for.
**This interview was provided to all of the media members. Questions asked by Marty Appel.
Mr. White did a few other interviews with various reporters, took pictures with us and some fans that were there. Overall, it was a very, very fun night. I’d definitely recommend heading over to Mickey Mantle’s for a ballgame when you can. Great staff, good food, and a nice atmosphere. A special thanks to Doug Drotman and his staff for inviting us and the rest of the press to the event.
If you are interested in participating in the race, visit this link.
I’m probably going to run in it, so shoot me an e-mail if you want to join.