Fred White, a radio voice familiar to Royals fans for 25 years and associated with the club for 40 years, died on Wednesday due to complications from melanoma. He was 76. White’s death came just one day after the team announced his retirement as director of broadcast services and the Royals Alumni. White was best known for the 25 years, that he teamed up with Denny Matthews in the Royals’ radio booth.
White left the booth when Ryan Lefebvre was hired for the Royals’ broadcasting team in 1999. White occasionally did games on a fill-in basis. He helped current broadcaster Steve Physioc get his first job out of college. Physioc attended K-State, got into broadcasting and White helped him land his first jobs. Physioc eventually followed White as the voice of the Wildcats.
White worked for Kansas State University athletics in the 1960s-70s and was sports director of WIBW in Topeka. He was nationally known for his TV basketball coverage, notably in the Big Eight and later the Big 12.
White called George Brett’s home run off the Yankees’ Goose Gossage in the 1980 postseason and Brett’s 3,000th hit against the Angels in Anaheim. He covered several playoffs and the World Series teams of 1980 and 1985. White also called Bo Jackson’s mammoth first big league home run, saying: “I mean he crushed it. That might be the longest home run hit in Royals Stadium!”
AUDIO Fred White’s call of Brett’s 3,000th hit (:18)
The Royals honored White during the top half of the first inning with silence to start the game. Video courtesy of KCRoyals.com