When Bill White was named president of baseballs National League in 1989, he became the highest-ranking black executive in all of professional sports. With a salary of $250,000 per year in a demanding administrative position that requires resolution, judgment, and a thorough grounding in the game of baseball, White was not only expected to bring a new wave of integration to the all-white halls of baseball management, he was also expected to do a very good job. As Rich Ash-burn put it in the Philadelphia Daily News, “The National League should be in pretty good hands.… Bill White is intelligent, articulate, firm and fair. And hes determined.” By 1994, however, White had left the office, openly noting his frustration at working with baseball owners.
At the time of Whites appointment, blacks were well represented on teams in virtually every American sport, but they remained rare in managerial and executive positions. But White did not necessarily see his appointment as a means to correct that imbalance. Both he and the baseball team owners who chose him agreed that it was his experience, his maturity, and his love of the game that made him the man for the job. Peter OMalley, chairman of the search committee and owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, remarked to the New York Times: “Bill White was selected because he was the best man for the job. He was the only man who was offered the job and, fortunately, he was the only man who accepted. Race was not a factor.”