Tuesday, April 3, 2012

White excited about coaching with T-Bones


A legend is coming to The Legends in Village West in western Wyandotte County.

One of Kansas City’s most beloved stars and a Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer, Frank White will be coaching the Kansas City T-Bones at Community America Ballpark. 

“Chris Browne (T-Bones General Manager and Vice-President) was a clubhouse attendant with the Royals in 1985 and gave me a call and asked if I was interested in coaching,” says White.n“I’ve always had an interest in teaching and helping players get better so I think it’s a win-win for both of us. I can stay involved in the game and community and help the team get more exposure.

“It’s a fun to be out there. For people who are not familiar with independent or minor league baseball, the game is the same. It’s just the talent level is different but a game on any level can be exciting. And Community America ballpark has a family atmosphere where the fans are close to the players and can get autographs and things like that.”

The T-Bones honored White with a Frank White Night last summer that drew huge lines for autographs.

White said he will begin his duties when the T-Bones hold any open tryout May 4 and spring training which will be held daily starting May 5. The T-Bones will open the season May 17 when they host the New Jersey Jackals. 

“Everyone is excited about the season,” says White, who will be on the coaching lines for all home games along with a couple of road trips yet to be determined.

White will be working with a new T-Bones manager, Mike Hook, who served as bench coach for Tim Doherty last season. “Tim was one of the guys I communicated with when I was hired but then Tim got a job with the Red Sox,” says White. “Independent and minor league baseball is all about getting to the next level and I hope I can be of help.”  

With the season nearing, White said he is cutting back on off-season activities which included charitable events and conducting a winter Baseball Academy for about 70 youngsters in Lee’s Summit.

He also spent a week at the Royals Fantasy Camp despite a torn meniscus in his knee which could keep him out of future fantasy camps. 

“I think I’ve only had one vacation in all these years that I haven’t had to work in some kind of capacity,” says White before he and wife Teresa headed off on a 10-day trip to see grandkids in Arizona.

A member of the Royals’ broadcast and telecast crew the last three years, White’s contract was not renewed after the past season – a decision by the Royals that set off a wave of protest and furor by Royals’ fans. However, he’ll still be heard as a regular contributor to broadcasts on WHB 810 Radio.

The decision by the Royals to end a 15-year relationship was, White admits, disappointing. “I was very disappointed and will miss broadcasting but it’s something I can’t control so I’ve accepted it and am moving on. I’ve had a great relationship and have no regrets at all. It’s pretty exciting to spend so many years as a player and coach and in the front office in your hometown.”

One of the best fielding second basemen of all-time, White starred with the Royals from 1973-90, earning eight Gold Gloves and playing in five All-Star games. Only George Brett with 13 played in more. 

The ALCS most valuable player in 1980 with a .545 batting average in leading the Royals to a 3-game sweep of the Yankees, White also led all players with six RBI in leading the Royals to the 1985 World Championship.

Released after the 1990 season, he managed in the Boston minor league system in 1992-93 and then was first base coach for the Red Sox in 1994-96.

He returned to the Royals in 1997 and covered just about every base but managing at the big league level. From July of 1997-2000, he coached first base, then moved to the front office for three years before managing the Royals’ farm team at Wichita from 2004-06.

“When you look back at where my career started and where it ended up, it was exciting and a lot of fun doing it,” White, now 61 and off in a new direction, the fun has not come to an end – not by any means.    


PHOTO: Flanked by General Manager Chris Browne (left) and owner John Ehlert, Royals Hall of Fame second baseman Frank White will be wearing the colors of the T-Bones in his new role of coach this season. (Photo by Alan Hoskins)