Every baseball city should have a broadcaster like Fred White. He had a 40-year association with the Kansas City Royals, calling their games on the radio with Denny Matthews from 1973 to 1998, and was at the mic for most of the greatest moments in franchise history. White died Wednesday at the age of 76 from complications of melanoma, but his voice is preserved in the memories of Royals fans and in recordings anyone still can listen to.
The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton wrote a touching obituary for White that's worth reading even if you haven't followed the Royals, and Fox Sports Kansas City made an inspired choice by starting their broadcast of K.C.'s game against the Angels with a half-inning of silence to honor White's passing. It's a beautiful and powerful few moments (condensed to about 90 seconds in the video highlight) when listeners only hear the ambient noise of the ballpark. And it's even more emotional when you realize that Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre (who introduces the silence) was the person who replaced White on radio broadcasts in '98 (a move that was widely unpopular at the time).
Among White's finest moments: Well, anything to do with George Brett. Calling his home run that help beat the Yankees and get the Royals to the World Series in 1980. And saying of the Royals before Game 7 of the 1985 World Series: "This improbable little team, doing improbable little things, now has pushed this thing to the brink."
And then there's the resumption of the "Pine Tar" game with Brett and the Yankees in 1983, when White hysterically described the defensive alignment a defiant Billy Martin fields for the ninth inning:
Fred White's voice is a beloved one in Royals history. He will be missed.