White
White

Get him talking about his early goals as the new president of the independent Atlantic League and you'll get a good feel for Rick White's deep business background.

You might also come away scratching your head.

"For this year we're working on four things, in particular," White said by phone Wednesday night from his home in Denver, Colo. "First, establishment of a retail product licensing program. Second, take advantage of the opportunities to create a handful of special league partnerships. Third, take the opportunity to create a league-wide electronic ticketing system. And lastly, the creation of a bigger electronic database."

What does all that mean for York Revolution fans?

Well, White would like to get all eight of the Atlantic League's teams to better manage their trademarks, with the end game of getting merchandise beyond team stores at stadiums and into local shopping outlets.

He'd also like to get an outside company to create and manage a league website that strictly sells merchandise for the league's teams, similar to shop.MLB.com. Along those lines, White would like to create an online ticketing system where fans can purchase tickets off one league website.

"Say people in Lancaster would like to come see a game in York. They will be able to (purchase tickets) on a league website," White said.


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Career: Those are a few of the concepts White, 61, has put to work over an impressive business career that began when he landed a gig with Major League Baseball in 1979. That came about shortly after writing his thesis on compensation analysis of baseball salaries as part of his master's degree in business administration from Purdue (Ind.) University. He had previously earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at Chapman (Calif.) University, where he served as the baseball team's catcher.

"When I was there, it was Chapman College," White said. "We had a very talented baseball team in the three years I was there. We were ranked in the top 10. I was fortunate to have played with many future Major League Baseball players, including Randy Jones, who is a former (National League) Cy Young award winner (in 1976)."

White slowly worked his way up in MLB over the next few years to eventually become president of Major League Baseball Properties in 1983. According to mlb.com, MLB Properties is the agent for all of the clubs' marketing and trademark licensing and protection, among other responsibilities. White stayed in that position until 1994, along the way creating the All-Star game FanFest and the authentic collection of game apparel sold to consumers.

According to a Los Angeles Times article published in 1989 about White, he oversaw MLB Properties at a time when MLB turned a profit for the first time in decades in 1986, with the growth in sales of official baseball merchandise dwarfing gains in attendance and broadcast revenues.

After MLB, White went on to work in prominent management positions across various industries, including Nike and Phoenix Footwear, most recently working for a licensing company.

White is taking over as Atlantic League president for Peter Kirk, who served in that capacity in 2013 and is also the chairman of Opening Day Partners, which is a co-owner of the York franchise.

Growing: In addition to his plans for helping the league grow revenue, White will continue the league's goal of expanding from eight to 12 teams, with the focus being in Texas, where the league hopes to eventually find three new franchises to go with Sugar Land.

The league will also continue to be MLB's test dummy when it comes to trying new things, such as last year's umpiring emphasis on calling the high strike and on completing between-innings promotions in 90 seconds or less, all in an effort to cut down on the length of games.

If all goes according to plan, White is hoping his new role will be his last mountain left to climb before he calls it quits on a successful business career.

"If I'm lucky this will be an opportunity to serve the league for many years before I walk off into the sunset," he said.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.