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Brother can spare a dime, but White wants more

November 27, 1996

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

Years ago, Greg White and his younger brother Matt would compete to be the first to throw a baseball hard enough to break their father's hand.

Now the competition may be to see which of the White brothers can break the bank.

Matt White, 18, made the first pitch Monday, signing with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays for a record $10.2 million bonus.

"I always thought he had the potential," said Greg White, a James Madison University junior who returned home to Waynesboro, Pa., Tuesday for Thanksgiving break.

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"We never had any real kind of rivalry. Maybe, when we were younger when our dad would catch us and we'd try to see it we could break his hand with our pitches. It was tough on our mom, too, because she tried to catch us some."

Matt White has the megabucks and the notoriety, but his older brother is no dimestore mannequin. Greg White, a first baseman and third baseman, led the Dukes last spring with a .361 batting average, 22 doubles, 55 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases. He was first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association and the team's most valuable player.

Greg White, like his brother, was a star pitcher at Waynesboro High. He also was drafted out of high school by the San Francisco Giants, but chose instead to play collegiately at James Madison.

Matt White was declared a free agent because the Giants failed to offer a written contract within 15 days of the draft, enabling him to sign with the highest bidder.

"This year, I'll be eligible for the draft and I hope to be picked," Greg White said. "Then I'll be working on going on."

Greg White said "at least six or seven teams" - including Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees, Arizona, Philadelphia, Florida and Baltimore - made offers to Matt. The final choice was between the Yankees and Devil Rays, he said.

"I haven't talked to (my family) since last week," Greg White said. "The negotiations were going on back then. They were unsure what was going to happen but everyone was excited.

"It doesn't surprise that he got that big of a contract," he added. "Pitching is hard to come by, it's obvious by all the runs being scored in the majors. Premier pitchers will get a ton of money. With Matt and Bobby (Seay, another free agent signee), Tampa Bay has two good guys to build around."

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