Saturday, December 11, 2010
#598) RICK WHITE
Rick White was traded along with Bubba Trammell by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the New York Mets in exchange for Paul Wilson and Jason Tyner on July 28, 2000. "I really didn't have much of a clue of what Rick White was all about," teammate Al Leiter said. "Then that first game against the Cardinals and he's throwing 93, 94, hitting his spots, I thought, 'Wow, that's good.'" The Mets wanted to add a reliever to complement the role of set-up man, Turk Wendell. Rick found immediate success and his personality a perfect fit with his new teammates. "We are a different breed, relievers are anyways," said White. "You're kind of nervous about that when you come to a new team and a totally different situation. But it seems like we are crazy in all the same way here."
Rick's work from the bullpen helped the Mets win the National League Wild Card berth. He finished the season with a 2-3 record, one save, and 3.81 ERA. White was then perfect in the Division Series facing the San Francisco Giants. In what he would call the "No. 1 special game of his career" the right-hander pitched the final two innings of Game Three of the series. A pair of scoreless frames at Shea Stadium (while striking out four batters) that gave him the 3-2 victory after Benny Agbayani's home run in the 13th-inning. "When he hit it, I almost didn't get out there to greet him," said Rick. "I'm glad I did because being a part of this team is the best thing that's ever happened to me." The Mets finished as the 2000 National League Champions after losing to the Yankees in the World Series.
The club chose to establish White as the set-up man for closer John Franco in 2001. As a result they traded Wendell and Dennis Cook to the Philadelphia Phillies. Although missing his friends, he enjoyed the new opportunity. "That's what I like about this, I'm into the competitiveness of the situation and the adrenaline rush," said Rick. "In Pittsburgh, it was like every game I came into, I was facing an important situation. I've missed that."
His season was hampered by injuries that landed him on the disabled list during two periods of the year. While his numbers ended up about the same as the previous season, it was decided to allow White to leave as a free agent and sign with the Colorado Rockies on January 10, 2002. The Mets were in a cost saving mode to free up money to sign free agent, Mo Vaughn.
After his professional baseball career, Rick accepted the pitching coach position at Wittenburg University in 2009. Returning to his hometown of Springfield, Ohio where he also hosts training camps for area youth. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, and the sport of hunting.
Rick White signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to Wittenburg University on December 10, 2010.