Pitcher Discovers Rare Rocks, Hopes Dodgers Discover His Talents

February 6, 2009, 8:19 PM

March 1, 2007 — -- Life has thrown pitcher Matt White a bit of a curve ball -- potentially a $2 billion curveball to be exact.

White, who is at spring training in Florida hoping to make the Los Angeles Dodgers roster, bought a 50-acre plot of land in 2003 from his great-aunt Josephine for $50,000 so she could afford a nursing home.

The Cummington, Mass., land didn't seem good for much at the time. Still, White decided to clear a few acres to build a house.

"We kept digging up these flat rocks. And we didn't really know what was going on," he explained.

White decided to have the land surveyed, and that's when things began to get interesting.

It turns out the land is chock full of Goshen stone -- billed as some of the most "beautiful" and "well known" landscaping stone in the country.

A local geologist estimated there were about 24 million tons of this stone on White's land. It's valued at about $100 per ton, and he has since started a business to mine the stones that has caught a rash of attention for the player at spring training.

"It's just been overwhelming, the last 48 hours, all the media. This is the last thing I planned on," he said.

Cummington is a sleepy town of about 1,000 people in the Berkshires. White's family lives nearby, and his brother, Jim, said Matt originally purchased the land because he just wanted a place to get away from it all.

"When he comes home in his off-season he likes to go hiking," Jim White said.

When his brother found out how valuable the stones were, he was inspired to turn it into a business after seeing a similar one nearby. "There is another quarry on top of the hill, so he said, 'Why can't I have a quarry?'" Jim White added.

He has that quarry, and his father runs the company, Swift River Stone. Business is good, but Jim White says his brother isn't too concerned about this potentially billion-dollar business. "He is just focusing on baseball and that's where he wants his focus," he said.

Right now, Matt White is in Vero Beach, Fla., taking another crack at the big leagues. He has been with eight baseball organizations in his career and has played in more than 250 Minor League games. Last December, he signed a Minor League contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is now hoping to make a jump to the Major Leagues.

"I'm fortunate to be here with a baseball uniform, with an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues," Matt White said. "I can't lose sight of what I've dreamed of my whole life."

At 29, White is getting a little long in the tooth to be a journeyman pitcher. He won't get too many more shots to try out for the big leagues. But he remains optimistic. "My plan is to get to the big leagues and help the Dodgers get to a World Series this year," White said.

The Dodgers have about 28 pitchers at spring training right now -- less than half of them will leave spring training as a Major Leaguer.

Jim White said his brother is under a lot of pressure. "It's pretty overwhelming," he said. "He's at spring training trying to make a Major League baseball team and all the press seems to be about his rock quarry."

Still if Matt White is one of the lucky ones and makes the team, he'll feel like a million bucks. And he may be worth about a billion.

What are the odds?

ABC News' David Muir contributed to this report.

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