Monday, November 23, 2009
The Dandy Dozen: Banjo White
The Resume: Banjo White has hit more home runs than any player in Second City history. That's really all the resume you need, but I'll fill out anyways.
Banjo actually spent the world's first 2 seasons in the minors, hitting 119 HRs and driving in 411 runs at AA and AAA. He burst onto the scene for the Houston Heavy Hitters in season 3, winning the Rookie of the Year Award while hitting .287 with 42 HRs, 140 RBI, drawing more walks (73) than K's (70). He stole 19 bases for good measure.
White would spend almost his entire career with the Houston franchise, where he holds career records for games played (1608), Hits (1857), HRs (613), intentional walks (158, 3X the next highest total), runs (1504), RBI (1670), slugging % (.670), and walks (756). In addition to leading the world in career HRs (618), he ranks 4th in RBI with 1670, and 3rd in OPS (1.046).
White won the AL MVP in seasons 5, 6, and 7. During the MVP run, he AVERAGED 72 HRs, 184 RBI, 163 R, while hitting .312. He was an All-Star in seasons 4, 6, 8, and 10. White also won 2 minor league MVPs, Season 2 @ AA and Season 3 @ AAA.
The Rest of the Story: Banjo is actually named for his great-grandfather, Billy Whitlock, a famous blackface performer in the middle 1800's. Whitlock (who's grandson shortented the surname to White), was known as the King of Banjo players and starred in a series of acts that has since been derided as offensive due to it's racially insensitive content. Banjo, however, has remained true to his name, and never goes on a road trip without his trusty 5-string banjo. In fact, Helena manager Luis Pinero briefly clashed with White during spring training and jested to the media that White spent more time "strumming that banjo than taking batting practice." White, playing his first season outside of Houston, shrugged off the comment saying, "When Luis hits HIS 600th HR, he can talk to me about batting practice, until then, let the music play."