Q: In May 1960, you set a career high with 6 RBI in a game at the L.A. Coliseum, hitting two home runs, both off Don Drysdale. Your career batting average against Drysdale was .326 with seven home runs. Why were you so successful against him?
Bill White: Because he threw spitballs. It actually was oil he kept on the back of his hair. And when you loaded the ball up, it sunk. And I was a low-ball hitter. He was throwing to my strength.
Q: In the spring of 1961, you took a courageous stand against the segregationist practices going on during spring training in St. Petersburg, Fla. Players were separated in living quarters according to race. A yearly community business breakfast invited only white players, not blacks. You made enormous progress in getting things changed. How were you able to do that?
...St. Louis at that time was one of the most segregated cities in the major leagues. But they sold Budweiser beer, which owned the Cardinals. The black people in St. Louis said, ‘They aren’t treating our kids right. We’re going to boycott Budweiser.’
That was a perfect storm. No. 1, a private business club in St. Petersburg not allowing blacks in, and, No. 2, all of a sudden there was a possibility Budweiser would get boycotted in St. Louis and it might spread all over the country.
So I think that had a part in August Busch saying, ‘We better do something about this. We better nip this in the bud.’ So the next year everything was integrated.