Longtime Royals radio voice Fred White dies

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Fred White, a Royals radio broadcaster for 25 years and team employee since died yesterday due to complications from melanoma. He was 76:

White was best known for the 25 years, 1974-98, that he teamed with Denny Matthews in the Royals’ radio booth.

“I had great admiration and respect for Fred and even after he left the broadcast booth, he did a fantastic job with our radio network,” [Royals owner David] Glass said. ” … Fred was really good with the alumni and provided a lot of leadership there. So we’re just really proud of our association with him and we send our sincere condolences to Fred’s family. It’s a shock to all of us and he’s really going to be missed.”

Since 1998 he had worked in Royals media relations and coordinated alumni activities.

I had never had the opportunity to hear White’s radio work, but like Harwell with me and any number of other broadcasters with fans of other teams, it’s always sad when the voice which invited us into baseball at a young age passes. There are Royals fans from their 40 somethings on down to their late teens who first heard baseball through White’s work. Even if he hadn’t been broadcasting for a while, he will surely be missed.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.