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Matt White, Rays' record signing, retires at 27
By MARC TOPKIN
Published July 24, 2006
Driving from Montgomery, Ala., to his home outside Atlanta on Sunday morning, Matt White realized what he had done.
With his right shoulder failing him again, and the possibility of permanent damage looming, he told the Devil Rays he had decided to retire.
The big-league career that seemed certain when White signed with the Rays for a record $10.2-million in 1996 would never happen, and the reality was painful and disappointing.
"It was an emotional drive back," White said Sunday. "I had 2 hours to reflect. There were a lot of great memories and a lot of things that went wrong. I had big expectations for myself and they didn't come true. That's the toughest thing to deal with."
White, 27, will forever be labeled one of the game's biggest busts, but - having last pitched in a game in 2003 - there wasn't anything more he could have done.
"I exhausted every possibility to try to come back," White said. "I felt like I lived up to my end of the bargain. It's unfortunate what happened on the field with the injuries. To not be able to do what you can do is frustrating."
White plans to complete his degree in fish and wildlife management and would like to get into coaching.