Jim and June White
were received warmly by the neighboring fans in Yankee Stadium. "They gave
Matt a standing ovation," his mother says. "I don't know if it's
because he gave up so many runs."
White allowed six
in two thirds of an inning. He recalls the walk to Derek Jeter as clearly as
the hanger that the Cardinals' So Taguchi poked for a two-run single in White's
only career start, with Washington in 2005. But then, when you've faced only 53
hitters in the Show, you recollect almost every pitch. In hopes of building
more big league memories, White has pitched four years of winter ball in the
Dominican Republic and Venezuela and flown to Japan to audition for the Orix
BlueWave in 2005. ("They said I was too short and my fastball wasn't fast
enough," says the 6-foot, 200-pound White.) If he finds that something
extra--maybe with his sidearm release--then maybe he can, as Honeycutt says,
separate himself. He can put down roots.
He couldn't put
down roots on those 50 acres, which was the plan when he bought them from
Josephine Howes in 2003. (She died three years later.) Jim, a self-employed
logger by profession, was trying to build a road to the top of the property and
kept excavating perfect, flat sheets of rock. "We didn't know what it
was," Matt says of the mica schist, often known in landscaping as Goshen
stone after the quarry on the other side of the hill from White's land.
"But we thought it was pretty good." In 2005 he started a business,
Swift River Stone, to sell the rock used to build patios and hearths. Last
year, as a Phillies' minor leaguer, White even brought some samples to spring
training to drum up business from his more deep-pocketed teammates. "I'm
like, 'Whatever. It's a rock. Great,'" recalls Wolf, a former Phillie.
White didn't know
how much stone he owned until last August, when Peter Panish, an adjunct
professor from the UMass department of geosciences, whom he had hired to survey
the land, told him it was rich with mica schist. White was thunderstruck. He
says, "I'm driving to the park in Scranton when I got the call, and my
teammate, Jeremy Cummings, starts punching the calculator on his cellphone and
whispering, 'How much do you sell that stuff for?'"
The quarry was
empty last week while Jim, June and Matt's grandfather, Lincoln Howes, visited
Vero Beach. Jim planned to start excavating again this week. Given the start-up
costs--heavy equipment, diesel fuel--the "baseball billionaire" has
barely made any money in his other career. "Takes a couple of years to get
it set up," says Jim, who won't let his son handle rocks because they might
pinch the fingers on his pitching hand. "Barely scratched the
Matt White only
hopes the same can be said of the lode of potential in his left arm.
Matt White's windfall, on paper at least, would place him in some rich
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