Devon White has a lot of hardware: three World Series rings and seven Gold Gloves.
But it’s one split-second that has emblazoned him in Blue Jays lore.
A catch — more specifically, Game 3 of the 1992 World Series in which White threw himself against the wall in deep centre field to deprive the Atlanta Braves’ David Justice of a two-run double— remains what is widely considered one of the most spectacular defensive plays in World Series history.
Yet, 21 years after that play, the three-time All Star, perhaps because it was so talked about, is rather blasé about his stunning backhanded grab.
In fact, during his career, he thinks he’s made more exceptional plays.
“If you watch my game in the years that I have played, I think I have made some good plays,” said White. “But that was the spotlight, that was the World Series, and it came out to be a better play.”
White was in town this week and was the official draw master at the post position draw for Sunday’s Woodbine Mile, a $1 million horse race contested at Woodbine Racetrack.
Even today, after winning another championship with the Blue Jays in 1993 and again with the Florida Marlins in 1997, and front office stints with the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Nationals, people want to talk about that famous game.
“[People stop me] all the time,” he said. “It’s always the catch.”
ESPN reporter Jayson Stark wrote, in 2004, that after the game he bumped into Los Angeles Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer Vin Scully, who was present when Willie Mays made an epic over-the-shoulder catch in game one of the 1954 World Series.
“I saw Mays’ catch,” Scully said to Stark. “And this one, to me, was better.”
What makes that moment resonate more than two decades after it happened was what didn’t happen: the elusive triple play.
After gunning down the ball, White threw to second baseman Roberto Alomar, who threw it to John Olerud on first.
Braves’ runners Deion Sanders and Terry Pendleton became crossed up, and Pendleton was called out for passing Sanders on the baseline. Olerud threw to third baseman Kelly Gruber, who chased down Sanders and tagged him with his glove on the heel as Sanders dove for second base.
The umpire, Bob Davidson, called Sanders safe. No triple play.
To this day, there has been only one triple play in World Series history: Bill Wamsgnass’ unassisted one in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series.
Of course, the Jays went on to win the championship in spite of the call and White has moved on from “the catch”. He has raised a family, and his daughter Davellyn Whyte currently plays for the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars.
White is now hoping to land a job in minor league development.
Days after that Game 3, Davidson admitted that he made the wrong call.
But Devo, at least to his audience at Woodbine, remains as nonchalant about the umpire’s botched call as he was about the play in the first place.
“Every once in a while you do those things.”