This is an anniversary year of sorts for Tom White, who 40 years ago – in 1977 – coached a group of Yarmouth-area youths to the Nova Scotia beaver B baseball championship. In the years that followed, Yarmouth ball teams coached by White would capture nine more provincial titles and six Atlantic championships.
For White, this is an anniversary year in another sense too, given that it was two decades ago that he and others got together to establish the Yarmouth Town and County Sports Heritage Association, whose signature annual event – the local area’s sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony – was held this past spring for the 20th straight year.
White himself was inducted as an individual (in the category of coach/builder) in 2001 and he has entered the local Hall of Fame on a number of other occasions when teams he coached were inducted, most recently this year, when that beaver B team from 1977 was among the inductees.
Over his years as a coach, White led teams at various age levels. He recalls taking kids when they basically were just starting out and sticking with them, perhaps picking up new players as they progressed through the system. By the time they reached bantam or older, he had a club that was hard to beat.
Although it has been a while since he had his own team, White – who turned 90 Dec. 3 – remained involved in baseball until fairly recently by lending a hand to other coaches.
All in all, baseball has been a lifelong passion for White, who first played the sport at about six or seven years of age and who eventually played senior ball.
“I started out as a catcher,” he said. “I was with the Yarmouth Gateways in 1946. I was the only rookie on the team. I was 18 years old ... catching all these (great) pitchers. I mean they could pitch.”
His Gateway teammates included Nate Bain, who many years later – in the 1990s – was part of the group, along with White and others, that founded the local sports heritage association. (Bain was among those inducted in 1998, when the association held its inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony.)
Aside from his special fondness for baseball, White has a great appreciation for local sports history and he says he’s glad to see the Hall of Fame’s ranks continue to grow each year.
The Hall of Fame plaques, photos of inductees and their bios, along with an assortment of other pictures and sports-related items, can be viewed at the sports heritage association’s facility at 435 Main St. in Yarmouth, where an open house was held for White Dec. 3.
White is impressed with what athletes and teams from the Yarmouth area have accomplished.
“Isn’t it something, for the size of our town,” he said. “Look at these young kids now that are making a name for themselves at a high level.”