Former Royals second baseman Frank White attended Friday’s game at Kauffman Stadium against the Tigers, and on the surface that should not be considered a newsworthy event.
After all, No. 20, White’s uniform number, hangs beside George Brett’s No. 5 and Dick Howser’s No. 10 in on the façade of the Royals Hall of Fame in left field.
A bronze statue of White stands in right field.
But since a fallout with the organization, White had not attended a game at Kauffman Stadium since 2011.
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That changed Friday. White sat in the stands with his wife, Teresa, and friends Jim and Sonya Nutter and requested not to be interviewed. He issued this statement:
“As you can imagine, this is an emotional situation for me. It has been a long time since I’ve been in the stadium. But I came tonight as a fan, at the invitation of Jim and Sonya Nutter. Teresa and I came out to be with Kansas City’s amazing fans and to help cheer these young players on to victory.
“I had the privilege of coaching and managing and getting to know many of them. I really believe they’ve got the talent and the spirit to take us to those two places we haven’t been in so long — the playoffs and the World Series.
“I am excited, for those young guys on the field, and for the all the people of Kansas City and Jackson County who have stuck with the Royals teams through thick and thin, and who have been rewarded, at long last with a season of good and exciting baseball.”
In late 2011, White told The Star: “I’m done with the Royals. In all aspects. I’m tired. I’ve worked so hard to build my reputation and prove to them that I was loyal.”
White had served as a minor-league manager in the Royals’ system — he managed Alex Gordon’s and Billy Butler’s Class AA Wichita team in 2004 — before moving into the Royals’ broadcast booth in 2008, when he was passed over for the Royals’ manager job.
White’s contract wasn’t renewed after the 2011 season.
White said in his biography, “One Man’s Dream, My Town, My Team, My Time,” that he resigned from a community relations job with the Royals because he was asked to take a pay cut without reducing his duties.
“The Royals broke my heart,” White wrote. “They made me feel like I never mattered.”
White, a Kansas City native and the greatest success of the Royals’ Baseball Academy of the early 1970s, became one of the game’s best second baseman in his 18-year career. He was a five-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner and MVP of the 1980 American League Championship Series.
White has remained in baseball in recent years, serving on the staff of the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association.
In August, White won a primary race for the Jackson County Legislature with the general election set for November.