21 Facts About Deacon White


James Laurie "Deacon" White was an American baseball player who was one of the principal stars during the first two decades of the sport's professional era.

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In 1871, Deacon White was the first batter to come to the plate in the National Association, the first professional baseball league.

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Deacon White ranked fourth in career total chances at third base, fifth in assists, and sixth in putouts and double plays.

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Deacon White was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.

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Deacon White learned baseball from a Union soldier who returned to his hometown after the Civil War in 1865.

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Deacon White earned the first hit in baseball's first fully professional league – a double off Bobby Mathews of the Fort Wayne Kekiongas in the first inning of the first game in National Association history on May 4,1871; he made the first catch.

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Deacon White led his league in batting average twice, and in RBI three times ; not until 1953, when Roy Campanella topped the NL, would another catcher lead his league in RBI.

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Deacon White started out early enough to have played against the undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, baseball's first all-professional team.

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Deacon White was considered the best barehanded catcher of his time, as well as one of the best third baseman during the second half of his career; his combined total of games caught in the NA and NL was eventually passed by Pop Snyder in 1881.

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On May 16,1884 Deacon White recorded 11 assists at third base, which remains the major league record for a nine-inning game although eight other players have since tied the mark.

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Deacon White tried and failed to convince his teammates that they were living on a flat plane and not a globe; they ridiculed him.

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Deacon White convinced the teammate but the argument would not prove that the earth is not a sphere.

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Deacon White ended his career ranking fourth in major league history in games and total chances at third base, fifth in assists, and sixth in putouts and double plays.

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Deacon White managed the minor league club Elmira Gladiators of the New York–Pennsylvania League in 1891.

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Deacon White has been incorrectly credited with managing the McAlester Miners of the Oklahoma–Arkansas–Kansas League and the Tulsa Oilers of the Oklahoma–Kansas League.

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Deacon White married Marium Van Arsdale was born on 1851 in Moravia, New York and on April 24,1871.

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The family moved to Detroit when Deacon White began playing for the Wolverines, but soon returned to Buffalo; by 1900 he was operating a successful livery stable there.

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Deacon White had been scheduled to be the principal guest of honor at Aurora's celebration of baseball's centennial the following day; the festivities instead featured a tribute to his memory.

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Deacon White had been greatly disappointed over not having been invited to the opening ceremonies to the Baseball Hall of Fame that summer, having been completely overlooked in the voting for inductees.

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Deacon White's funeral was held at Aurora's Healy Chapel, and he was buried at Restland Cemetery in Mendota.

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Deacon White was survived by his second wife Alice, who had been staying in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the time of his death, by his younger brother George, and by his daughter Grace and her husband Roger.

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