Fun and Not-So-Fun Facts
Will White accomplished another major league first. He was the first, and for many years the only, major league player to wear eyeglasses on the baseball field. In a later account of White’s early years, The Sporting Life wrote: “White was about the only pitcher of consequence who wore glasses. He had great control of the ball, and he could land one over the plate whenever he wanted to notwithstanding he was handicapped by weak eyes.”
In 1877, White’s older brother, Deacon White, was playing at first base for the Boston Red Caps of the National League. Deacon, by then an established veteran, brought Will with him to Boston for a tryout. Will was given a three-game tryout with the Red Caps, making his major league debut on July 20, 1877, at age 22. Deacon White, went on to play catcher (reportedly without a glove) for the Cleveland Forest Citys, Boston Red Caps, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Buffalo Bisons, Detroit Wolverines, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1871 to 1890, and was elected long after-the-fact to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. Will also had a cousin, Elmer White, who was an outfielder for a single season (1871) during baseball’s very early days.
Will White was not a typical ballplayer for his era. In a time when many ballplayers were heavy drinkers, who sometimes showed up with hangovers after a night on the town, White did not waste his money on women and drink. Instead he invested not in a saloon, but in a tea shop on Market Street in downtown Cincinnati, where he worked behind the counter in the offseason.
White died in August 1911 at his summer home in Port Carling, Ontario, Canada. The cause of death was drowning when, according to one account, he was teaching his niece to swim and suffered a heart attack while in the water and died.
Final Resting Place:
Forest Lawn Cemetery
1990 Main Road
Buffalo, New York, 14208
Grave Location:Section 15, Lot 58, Grave 1
Grave Location Description
As you enter the main entrance of the cemetery take the first right and drive three sections and turn left at Section 15. Drive 200 feet to the Section 15 sign on your left. Count 8 graves to the left of the sign and 6 rows into the section towards the lake. Look for the Klein monument and directly behind your will find the final resting place of baseball semi-legend Will White along with his wife and daughter.