Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

Click Here to Review Hal White's Stats on Baseball Almanac
“Where what happened yesterday is being preserved today.”


Hal White


Date and Place of Birth: March 18, 1919 Utica, New York

Died: April 21, 2001 Venice, Florida

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: US Navy

Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations


Harold G “Hal” White was born on March 18, 1919 in Utica, New York. He signed with the Rome Colonels of the Canadian-American League in 1937, appearing in three games for a 1-0 record. The following year he was 14-11 in 29 appearances and joined the Cleveland Indians’ organization, playing with Wilkes-Barre Barons of the Eastern League in 1939. A 10-11 record with a 3.27 ERA saw White advance to the Buffalo Bisons of the International League at the tail end of the season. In 1940, the Indians ended their working agreement with the Buffalo club and the Detroit Tigers took over the team.

White was 16-4 with Buffalo in 1940 and made his major league debut with the Tigers on April 22, 1941. He made four relief appearances in Detroit before returning to Buffalo where he again won 16 games. In 1942 he was back with the Tigers and had his best season in the majors with a 12-12 record and 2.91 ERA in 34 appearances, including 25 starts. He also threw shutouts in his first two starts. In 1943 – his last season before entering military service with the Navy - White was 7-12.

He entered military service on January 3, 1944 and was based at Sampson Naval Training Station in New York, where he played on the same service team as Del Ennis and Johnny Vander Meer. He later went to the Pacific as part of the Navy’s Western Pacific Tour. Following the tour, White was appointed recreation director on Guam. "I was assigned on the island with Pee Wee Reese," he later recalled. "Mickey Vernon was assigned to Ulithi, which is a tiny island all by itself.

"We were lucky. We ran baseball leagues, basketball, and umpired in softball. We were fortunate. We didn't see any action."

White returned to the Tigers in 1946 and worked primarily in a relief role. He was traded to the Browns for the start of the 1953 season but was sent on waivers to the Cardinals in June, where he finished his major league playing career the following year. He had a 46-54 record and a 3.78 ERA. 

White remained in baseball for many years as a minor league coach and scout. In 1975, he managed Batavia in the New York-Penn League. He was one of 90 veterans who attended the closing of Tiger Stadium in 1999. Hal White passed away at the age of 82, in Venice, Florida on April 21, 2001.

Created August 25, 2008.


Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.