Joyner Clifford "Jo-Jo" White (June 1, 1909 – October 9, 1986) was an American center fielder in professional baseball. He played nine seasons with the Detroit Tigers (1932–38), Philadelphia Athletics (1943–44), and Cincinnati Reds (1944). He also was the father of former major league outfielder Mike White.
Born in Red Oak, Georgia, Joyner White was known as "Jo-Jo" because of the way he pronounced the name of his native state of Georgia.
White was the starting center fielder for the Detroit Tigers teams that won back-to-back American League pennants in 1934 and 1935. He was a backup outfielder for the 1932 and 1933 teams but won the starting job in 1934.
In 1934, he batted .313, scored 97 runs, and stole 28 bases—the second most in the American League. His .418 on base percentage was also 7th best in the league. He played in all 7 games of the 1934 World Series, walking 8 times and scoring 6 runs against the Gashouse Gang Cardinals.
In 1935, White's batting average dropped 73 points to .240, but he still scored 82 runs and was among the AL leaders with 12 triples and 19 stolen bases. He played in all five games of the 1935 World Series, scoring three runs with a .417 on base percentage. White also hit a single in the 11th inning of Game 3 to drive in Marv Owen for the win.
White was roommates with Detroit slugger, Hank Greenberg, for five years. In his autobiography, Greenberg wrote that they had a great relationship and enjoyed being on the road together, though they "used to fight the Civil War every night." Greenberg noted that "no two people could be more different than me, coming from the Bronx, and Jo-Jo White, claiming he came from Atlanta." (Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life," p. 46). White even confessed once to Greenberg that, "I thought all you Jews had horns on your head." (Greenberg, p. 190)
In 1936, White lost the starting job in center field and remained a backup with the Tigers from 1936-1938. After playing in only 55 games in the outfield in 1938, White was frustrated with his limited playing time. After "a drink or two" on a train ride late in the 1938 season, White "decided to attack" a brand new felt hat purchased by manager Del Baker. Baker finally found out that it was White who had deliberately ruined the hat, and White was traded to the Seattle Rainiers, Whom he helped win the PCL pennant for both 1940 and 1941, for Fred Hutchinson in December 1938. (Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life," p. 123)
White returned to the major leagues during World War II, following the depletion of the talent pool as top players went into military service. In 1943, signed with the Philadelphia Athletics and played in more games (139) and had more at bats (500) and hits (124) than any other season in his career. After playing 85 games for the A's in 1944, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in August, finishing his career playing 24 games for the Reds.
In 1945, he had 244 hits and 162 runs scored while playing for minor league Sacramento. In nine major league seasons, White had a batting average of .256 in 878 games with 678 hits, 456 runs scored, 386 walks, 42 triples, and 92 stolen bases.
After his playing career had ended, White coached for the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland indians, Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. In 1960, White was acting manager of the Cleveland Indians for one game.
White died at age 77 in Tacoma, Washington. He was inducted posthumously into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
His son Mike White played three seasons in the major leagues for Houston from 1963-1965.
Famous quotes containing the word white:
“Realism absorbs the ideal by adding a few small imperfections. Example: it paints a few specks of mud on the white gown of the Lady in the Garden.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)