The Baseball Writers’ Association of America failed to elect anyone to Baseball’s Hall of Fame this year. Former Boston Red Sox pitchers Curt Schilling (38.8%) and Roger Clemens (37.6%) just barely reached one-half of the 75% threshold for election.
But Boston history baseball fans can celebrate the election of Jim “Deacon” White, who played for the Boston Red Stockings from 1873 to 1875, and then again in 1877. Deacon White was elected by the Hall of Fame’s Pre-Integration (1947) Committee in December 2012. He will formally enter the Hall in Induction Ceremonies scheduled for July 28, 2013.
White was primarily a catcher during his two stints with the Red Stockings and his batting average was .359 over the four seasons. As was the practice at the time, White fielded his position at catcher without a glove. He earned the nickname of “Deacon” for “his virtuous life, calm demeanor and leadership on the field,” according to Joe Williams of SABR who has written a fine biography of White.
In his first stay with Boston, the Red Stockings were the champions of the National Association all three seasons. When he returned in 1877, the Red Stockings won the championship of the National League, which had been founded in 1876. White went on to play a total of 20 seasons in the major leagues.
In 1877, he was joined on the Red Stockings by his brother Bill “Whoop-La” White. No explanation is readily available for his brother’s nickname. To read Joe Williams’ fine biography of Deacon White go to: