Sunday, January 28, 2018
In 2007, the last year Sports Illustrated came to my house every week, the magazine featured a story on Triple A Dodgers pitcher Matt White.
It was a follow-up story from MLB.com on the journeyman reliever who had already seen his last major league appearance by that time. White had bought some land in western Massachusetts and had discovered that the rock on that land was valued at over $2 billion dollars.
This captured my imagination as it obviously did with all of baseball at the time. The media went wild with the story even though White was still toiling for a minor league salary, knowing that the cost of excavating all of that rock would cost thousands upon thousands.
They called him the "Baseball Billionaire" and teammates like Luis Gonzalez sang him the theme to "The Beverly Hillbillies".
I thought the story was so cool that I filed away in my brain to someday get a baseball card of Matt White, hopefully in a Dodger uniform. I had just gotten back into modern card collecting and it sounded kind of fun.
Time moved on as it always does, and a million card things and a billion life things happened, and I lost track of Matt White. He never did make the major leagues with the Dodgers and ended up playing in Japan for two years. His time with the Red Sox, Mariners and Nationals amounted to an MLB career with an 0-2 record and a 16.76 ERA in seven games and 9.2 innings pitched. His last MLB game was in 2006.
Yet, still in the back of my brain that whole time, I was looking for a Matt White card.
This is not a card of Matt White. This is a card of Mitchell White, a top prospect for the Dodgers and a cool item sent to me by another Matt, of the Sports Card Collectors blog. (I don't know what that signature says but you couldn't get a person on the street to decipher it if you paid them $2.4 billion in stone).
Even though I've heard of Mitchell White and should be aware of him, being a Dodger fan and all, my brain went right to that Matt White story and I thought, for a moment, I had a signed card of Matt White.
I'm telling you when you're old like me, irrelevant information like this falls out of your brain all the time at the wrong time. You'll get there.
But the card did get me to finish the rest of the story of Matt White.
He finished playing baseball in 2010. He and his father operated the Swift River Stone Quarry in Cummington, Mass. But they were the only two employees and the cost of maintaining and excavating the quarry grew too much. White had to file for bankruptcy in 2014 and sell the quarry.
In this story, expectation didn't meet reality, not for Matt White who just wanted to play baseball when the news came out, but for the media and everyone else.
Meanwhile, you can expect to see Mitchell White in the major leagues fairly soon.
Here are more cards from Sports Card Collectors of another major leaguer who doesn't have to worry about the cost of Goshen stone:
Clayton Kershaw is on the verge of a new valuable contract but I know it won't be worth $2.4 billion.
I still don't have a card of Matt White. It was a bit difficult to find one online. There was another Matt White with the Tampa Bay Rays around the same time who was heavily hyped. I found several of his cards. He's Matt E. White. He never made the majors.
As for Matt J. White, I found a couple parallels of his 2004 Leaf card.
You can buy one now for $6.80.
Probably a good price for a card of someone who once found $2.4 billion worth of rocks.