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Doc White - Fleischmann's Ace of 1900 & Star of the Dead Ball Era

Yesterday, (April 9) in Mountain Athletic Club history, a crafty lefty named Guy Harris "Doc" White (shown top row with collar up, and "Mountain" emblazoned across the chest) was born in Washington D.C. in 1879. Just like his teammates Red Dooin and Miller Huggins on the "crack" Mountain Athletic Club of 1900, Doc would go on to become a star of dead-ball era baseball and among the finest pitchers in baseball during the first decade of the twentieth-century while pitching for the Chicago White Sox of the newly formed American League.

Doc stayed close to home for college and joined the Georgetown University varsity squad in 1898 and by 1899 was garnering attention from scouts after striking out the first nine batters in a game with Holy Cross. Following his junior year studying dentistry, he joined the M.A.C. for a Summer aboard the rails traveling with Cincinatti's youngest Mayor in history 28 year-old Julius Fleischmann and his Mountain Tourists. Different reports account for the M.A.C. going 56 -4 that Summer and I suspect Doc had a big role to play in their success.

The Albany Evening Journal box score from a game held between the M.A.C. and the Albany Senators on July 22, 1900 shows White listed by his middle name, "Harris" (sometimes also referred to as "Harry White"). Doc scattered 5 hits over nine innings to grab a 9-2 road win that day for the M.A.C.

Looking through White's file in the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame was especially fun. Unlike so many of the MLB'er files that have become facsimiles of their original documents, Doc's file was filled with crusty newspaper clippings from the years in which he played. So aged were the documents, I asked Reference Manager Cassidy Lent if I needed gloves or tweezers to look through his file. It was as if Doc himself (or a big fan) had sent in the clippings. These in particular, had references to his early days in Fleischmanns:

After a prolific season with the M.A.C. in 1900, White inked a professional contract with Philadelphia for whom he won 15 games in his rookie campaign of 1901 before returning to complete his dentistry degree at Georgetown. Following the 1902 season he opened a dental practice in D.C. in which he cared for patients in the off-season throughout and after his baseball career. In the off-season on 1902 he was sent off to the Chicago White Stockings where he would excel as a starter and, at times, a reliever.

In 1904, Doc pitched five consecutive shutout games - a record he held for 64 years until it was broken in 1968 by Don Drysdale. On the evening Drysdale tied Doc's record at five, a telegram arrived in the hands of the clubbie which read, ""CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING YOUR FIFTH STRAIGHT SHUTOUT AND EQUALLING MY RECORD. I WILL BE ROOTING FOR YOU TO BREAK IT. IT WILL BE A GREAT SATISFACTION TO ME TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO IS A CREDIT TO THE GAME BREAK MY RECORD." signed G. Harris "Doc" White.

But the 1904 season was only a sign of things to come. In 1905, Doc won another 17 games and in 1906, Doc went 18-6, led the league with a 1.52 ERA and a WHIP of .903 (a stat not kept back then). Most importantly, in the 1906 World Series versus the cross town rival Cubs who were coming off an 116 win season Doc became the first pitcher to earn a save in a World Series game when he came on in relief of Big Ed Walsh (HOF '47) to preserve an 8-6 win in Game 5 and the next day won the clinching Game 6 for the victory. It was the first World Series between two clubs from the same City. The underdog ChiSox team was forever immortalized as the "Hitless Wonders" after heading into the postseason having hit a league worst .230 as a team.

In addition to "Dr. White", the 1900 M.A.C. featured two other players on Comiskey's '06 championship team, Nick Altrock and George "Whitey" Rohe.

1907 was the best of his career where he tied for the league lead in wins with 27, posted an 2.26 ERA and pitched a remarkable 65 1/3 innings without issuing a walk - an American League record.

Doc was also known for his piano and violin playing having collaborated with a Chicago sportswriter publishing a best-selling piece of music in 1910:

Doc would pitch in Chicago until he retired from professional baseball in 1913 with 189 wins (3rd best among lefties at the time) and a 2.39 career ERA.

Following stints in the minors in 1914-15, White worked in minor-league baseball front offices for another six years in Vernon,CA, Denver, CO and Waco, TX and returned home to Washington D.C. in 1921 where he coached and taught physical education for another 28 years while also helping the University of Maryland as a pitching coach.

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