Nicknames: Reindeer, Liz
Teams: Hilldale Daisies (1919-1922, 1928, 1930-1932), Chicago American Giants (1920), Atlantic City Bacharach Giants (1923-1929), Washington Potomacs (1924), Wilmington Potomacs (1925), Quaker Giants, Homestead Grays (1930), Philadelphia Stars (1933-1935), Baltimore Black Sox (1932), New York Cubans (1936)
Height: 5' 10'' Weight: 195
Born: Dallas, Texas
Died: 1965, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A star center fielder on the Eastern Colored League champion Bacharach Giants of 1926-1927, Chaney White was an aggressive player at bat, on the bases, and in the field. Using his excellent speed and spikes-high slide, he was a terror on the bases. One opponent described White by saying that he was "built like King Kong but runs like Jesse Owens." He was reputed to run 100 yards in 10 seconds, and once circled the bases in 14 seconds on a sprained ankle.
His hard-nosed approach earned him a reputation as a "dirty" ballplayer, and he made no distinctions about who was on the receiving end of his flashing spikes. He once opened a wound on catcher Larry Brown's leg above the knee that required eight stitches to close, and in another play at home plate, he cut the chest protector and shin guards off Josh Gibson.
White's style of play contrasted with his demeanor off the field, where he was quiet and slow-talking, with a girlish laugh. His movements were languid, making him appear lazy and lackadaisical, but he was described as a gentleman and a scholar.
Although a right-handed batter, he was a left-handed thrower with a weak arm, but with good hands and great range in the field. A very good hitter, he had a composite .347 batting average for three winter seasons in Cuba, and finished his eighteen-year career in the Negro Leagues with a .302 lifetime batting average.
The Texan began playing baseball in the Lone Star State, and was with the Dallas-Fort Worth team before joining Hilldale. He made his first appearance with Hilldale in 1919, and after an unsuccessful trial with Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants in 1920, he returned to Hilldale and became their regular left fielder that season. In 1921-1922 he moved into the third slot in the lineup, batting .369 and .349 against all competition as Hilldale pursued an independent schedule. In 1923 the Eastern Colored League was organized and White joined the Bacharachs, playing left field and batting leadoff while hitting .385, .352 and .358.
He had some problems during his early years in Atlantic City, stemming from leg injuries. He started the 1924 season in center field for the Bacharachs, but suffered from bad legs and in mid-June was released to the Washington Potomacs. There he became their regular centerfielder until late in the season, when he suffered a bad knee injury and was unable to return to his previous form and had to be rested.
In 1925 he returned to the Bacharachs, and beginning in 1926 he moved to center field and began batting in the heart of the lineup as the Bacharachs captured two consecutive Eastern Colored League pennants in 1926-1927 but, unfortunately, lost each World Series to the Negro National League champion Chicago American Giants. In the 1926 Series he stole 5 bases in 6 attempts. His averages during the two pennant seasons were lower than subsequent years, as he posted marks of .295 and .274. But he followed with a pair of good seasons, batting .338 and .357 in 1928-29.
In 1930, with no league in the East, he joined the aggregation of talent that Cum Posey had attracted to the Homestead Grays, but left before the end of the season to return to Hilldale, recording a composite .333 average for the year. For the next two seasons he remained with Hilldale, batting in the third and fourth spots in the order and registering an average of .276 in 1931. In 1932, when the East-West League failed and the Hilldale club folded, he switched to the Baltimore Black Sox for the remainder of the season. In 1933 he joined Webster McDonald's Philadelphia Stars as their right fielder and third-place batter, compiling averages of .273, .284, and .256 in 1933-1935. In the middle year of his three-year stint, the Stars won the Negro National League pennant, defeating the Chicago American Giants in the playoff for the championship.
In 1936 he closed out his career with the New York Cubans, hitting .319. His all-around skills were recognized by those who competed against him, and he was selected by John Henry Lloyd as the left fielder on his all-time team for a national magazine in 1953.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.