Whitey Herzog, Hall of Fame Cardinals Manager, Dies at 92

Whitey Herzog, the Hall of Fame manager who led the St. Louis Cardinals to three pennants and a World Series championship in the 1980s, died Monday in St. Louis. He was 92 years old and the second oldest member of the Hall of Fame after Willie Mays.

His death was announced by the cardinals.

“Baseball has been good to me since I stopped playing it,” Herzog liked to say.

Drafted by the Yankees in 1949, he never made it out of their minor league system, although he gained a lifetime of baseball knowledge from manager Casey Stengel during spring training camps. He played the field for four American League teams for eight seasons with only modest success.

But Herzog found his niche as a manager with what would now be called Whiteyball, shaping teams with speed, defense and pitching to take advantage of baseball stadiums with fast artificial turf and spacious outfields, first in Royals Stadium in Kansas City, then Busch Stadium in Kansas City. Saint Louis.

Herzog managed the Kansas City Royals to three straight American League division championships in the 1970s, then took the Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title with a team he had also built as general manager . And he led the Cardinals to pennants in 1985 and 1987.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2009.

“The fundamental aspects of the game were some of the things he always emphasized,” Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith once said. “It just depended on how he prepared us to play.”

But for all his baseball know-how, Herzog looked beyond whiteyball to develop a relationship with his players.

As Cardinal reliever and Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter once told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “How many managers can you miss a game for and go fishing with him the next morning?” ?

Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog was born November 9, 1931, in New Athens, Illinois, about 30 miles southeast of St. Louis, to Edgar and Lietta Herzog. His father was a worker in a brewery. (Whitey’s nickname comes from his light blonde hair.)

As a boy, Whitey would sometimes drop out of school to visit Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis and watch the Yankees play the St. Louis Browns (the team later became the Baltimore Orioles).

Herzog was signed by the Yankees out of high school, but they abandoned him after a long apprenticeship in the minors and traded him to the Washington Senators in 1956. He also played for the Kansas City Athletics, Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. He appeared in 634 major league games with a career batting average of .257.

After two seasons with the Athletics, as a scout and then coach, Herzog joined the Mets as third base coach in 1966, scouted them in 1967, then spent five years overseeing their farm system.

Herzog was named manager of the Texas Rangers in 1973, taking over a young ball club, but was fired in early September with the team in last place in the American League West. He became coach of the California Angels in 1974, filling in for four games as interim coach during a management change.

He replaced Jack McKeon as manager of the Royals midway through the 1975 season, then led them to AL West titles the next three seasons, losing each time to the Yankees in the League Championship Series.

He considered his 1977 team the best he ever managed. He finished the regular season at 102-60, with speed players like Fred Patek, Frank White and Amos Otis, George Brett’s hitters and Dennis Leonard’s pitchers.

Herzog was fired after the Royals finished second in their division in 1979 and was named manager of the Cardinals in June 1980. He also earned the general manager job in late August, when he assigned management at Red Schoendienst.

He regained the manager’s job in 1981, remaining general manager until the start of the 1982 season, when the team he had assembled in a flurry of trades won the Cardinals’ first pennant since 1968.

This ball club, with Smith at shortstop, Keith Hernandez at first base, Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith and George Hendrick in the outfield, Darrell Porter at catcher and Sutter relief pitching, beat the Brewers by Milwaukee in seven games. World events.

After winning two additional pennants for the Cardinals, Herzog resigned on July 6, 1990, with his team in last place in the National League East. He then worked as an executive with the Angels.

He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Mary Lou Herzog; their three children; Debra, David and Jim; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren, the cardinals said.

Herzog never forgot his baseball roots, including the wisdom imparted by Stengel when Herzog was a Yankee prospect.

“Casey broke it down into a hundred little things that would make a difference,” Herzog recalled in “You’re Missin’ a Great Game,” written with Jonathan Pitts. “Once I started coaching and managing, I continued to pass it on to my own players, to everyone from the youngest rookie league bushwhackers to the George Bretts, Ozzie Smiths and Vince Colemans of the world . In Casey, I had an Einstein.

Stengel could talk about every facet of baseball, but Herzog recalled that one piece of advice Stengel gave had nothing to do with strategy.

As Herzog once told the New York Times: “Casey told me, ‘Let them ask you one question and keep talking so they don’t ask you another.’ »

Victor Mather reports contributed.

News Source :
Gn sports

Back to top button