Blue Jays icon White joins pregame festivities
TORONTO -- The pageantry surrounding a postseason game can be enjoyably nostalgic for a team and its fan base, especially since it presents the perfect opportunity to bring back favorites from past teams that had success in October.
The Blue Jays tabbed former center fielder Devon White to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday night at Rogers Centre. White was a big part of the Blue Jays teams that dominated in the postseason more than two decades ago, and while he's probably not the last star from those early 1990s World Series teams who will be invited back, he's a good one.
:: ALCS: Blue Jays vs. Royals -- Tune-in info ::White played for the Blue Jays from 1991-95 as part of a 17-year career, and he made huge contributions to both World Series runs in '92 and '93. While watching Game 3 from a suite at Rogers Centre, White noted the rally-towel-waving, raucous crowd and expressed satisfaction that loud and enthusiastic fans are back filling the stands in the wake of the Blue Jays' resurgence.
"We were used to that kind of crowd when we played here," White said. "It's good now to really make them see what we experienced all these years when we played here."
White, who considers himself "semi-retired," lives in Boca Raton, Fla., and does part-time work with the Jays Care community foundation. He was a central part of one of the more famous defensive plays in a World Series game, one that would have ended as a triple play if today's instant replay was in operation.
In Game 3 of the '92 World Series between the Blue Jays and Braves, White chased down a David Justice fly ball and caught it as he jumped into the centre-field wall. White then threw to second baseman Roberto Alomar, who threw to John Olerud at first to double up Terry Pendleton. But Pendleton had already been called out for running past Deion Sanders, so Olerud threw to third baseman Kelly Gruber, who chased down Sanders.
Replays showed Gruber barely swiped Sanders on the heel with his glove, but Sanders was called safe.
The missed call cost the Blue Jays the distinction of turning the second triple play in World Series history, but that was secondary to the fact that they won the game, 3-2.
And while White's catch lives on in baseball lore as an epic moment, White maintains it wasn't really that good.
"That's not one of my best catches, but it was in the World Series," White said. "So it's highlighted. If I'm sitting at home watching a game on TV and you see a great play, my name comes up. So, it's flattering."
Incidentally, it's likely White's name was mentioned minutes after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, considering current Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar made a catch on a Lorenzo Cain fly ball very reminiscent of White's play 23 years ago.
"He's a good player. He's coming into his own," White said. "It's tough that everyone's starting to compare him to myself, because I left a mark out there. But he's held his own, and I'm happy for him."
The Game 3 pregame ceremony began with the unfurling of a giant Canadian flag in center field, held by 250 members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Sergeant David Grenon of the Royal Canadian Air Force sang both national anthems.