Assistant Principal’s husband recalls professional baseball career

Kendall Rhoads

Assistant Principal LaSandra White is commonly found at Redwood sporting events supporting her students. However, those Redwood games are not the only sporting events she has frequented; White’s husband, Derrick, had a career as a professional baseball player.

Derrick began his career as a member of the Montreal Expos in 1993, and played for three other teams throughout his MLB tenure: the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies. According to Derrick, each team had a very different energy.

Batting for the Montreal Expos, Derrick White, husband of Assistant Principal LaSandra White, played for four Major League Baseball teams including the Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and Colorado Rockies.

“The chemistry on the Expos was like high school. You’re all trying to be successful. Whereas the other teams, you knew people because you played against them and now you’re in the same business as them,” Derrick said.

Although Derrick played baseball, football and basketball at a young age, he did not plan on playing professionally until he was much older.

“I really didn’t know that I wanted to do it full time until I got to college. I just looked at it longevity-wise because playing football wasn’t going to be a long career and it would be taxing on my body,” Derrick said. “Once I got into college, and I really started to work on [baseball] for a full year, instead of playing football, basketball, and baseball. I really started educating myself about it and learning it better.”

Looking back, Derrick’s favorite team to play on was the 1998 Chicago Cubs.  

“We had Kerry Wood, who was probably the best pitcher in baseball at the time, and we had Sammy Sosa, who was probably the best hitter in baseball. I got to watch both of them in action and become really good friends with both of them,” Derrick said.  

According to Derrick, on a normal day in the major leagues, the players’ schedules were relatively laid-back.

“A normal day on the road would be to wake up around 11 or 12, get something to eat, and go to the field around three o’clock. Except for when you played day games, which then we would have to wake up around eight in the morning. When I played for the Cubs there were only day games,” Derrick said.

The team practiced the same routine in order to create a consistent technique for games.

“Practices are basically routines. You’re going to do the same thing every day for freaking six months. It’s the same routine everyday and you stick with it so that you are practicing these skills the same way everyday so that you become consistent at it. So in the game, you can just focus on playing the mental part,” Derrick said.

Throughout his baseball career, Derrick played first base and outfield.

“The outfield was my favorite because you can relax a little more. First base every ball comes to you to get it out unless it’s a strike out or something like that, but you’re going to be running to first base a lot as far as covering back and things like that,” Derrick said.

Derrick’s most exciting memory from his time on the Cubs was during a one-game playoff against the San Francisco Giants.

“I have plenty of memories, but in major leagues the best memory was playing the Giants in a one-game playoff. We lost, but it was exciting,” Derrick said.

Posing with his father, DJ White sees his father as a role model and a mentor, though he no longer plays baseball.
Posing with his father, DJ White sees his father as a role model and a mentor, though he no longer plays baseball.

Throughout Derrick’s time in the MLB, his wife LaSandra was always by his side. When LaSandra and Derrick first started dating, Derrick was playing on a Triple-A team in Ottawa, Canada for the Montreal Expos.

The Whites’ son DJ was young when Derrick played in the MLB.  Similar to his father,  DJ played baseball for several years, but will not continue to play as he dislikes the sport.

“My son was really young, like two or even younger. It would have been fun if my son was older and able to experience that more as a little kid with his dad playing baseball. But my son knows [about his father’s career] and talks about it a lot. He will do a class project on it if it’s relevant just to talk about his dad,” LaSandra said.

Derrick is now a baseball scout for a Japanese team.

“It’s a lot of fun though because you get to see things get better and evolve,” Derrick said. “The athletes are a little different in the game. You sit there wishing you could be playing again and know what you know while watching it. You have to be understanding.”

Looking back, Derrick says the best part of playing on the team was creating lifelong friendships.

“The atmosphere was the greatest thing about it,” Derrick said. “The memories of the player, and everybody that you played with and have funny stories with. The best thing about it, more than playing, is the friendships you make.”