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Whitey Herzog

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Whitey Herzog

A photo of Whitey Herzog.

Dorrel Norman Elvert "Whitey" Herzog (born November 9, 1931) is a former professional baseball manager who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. Born in New Athens, Illinois, Herzog made his Major League Baseball debut as a player in 1956 with the Washington Senators. When his playing career ended in 1963, Herzog went on to perform a variety of roles in Major League Baseball, including scout, manager, general manager and farm system director. Most noted for his success as a manager, Herzog led the Kansas City Royals to three consecutive playoff appearances from 1976 to 1978. Hired by Gussie Busch in 1980 to helm the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series and made two other World Series appearances under Herzog's direction.

Player careerEdit

A left-handed batter and thrower, Herzog originally signed with the New York Yankees. While he never appeared in a major league game for them, Herzog was profoundly influenced by their legendary manager, Casey Stengel, during several spring training sessions with the Yanks. After being traded by New York as a prospect, he played for the Washington Senators (1956-1958), Kansas City Athletics (1958-1960), Baltimore Orioles (1961-1962) and Detroit Tigers (1963). In eight seasons, Herzog batted .254 with 25 home runs, 172 runs batted in, 213 runs scored, 60 doubles, 20 triples, and 13 stolen bases in 634 games. In reference to his success as a player versus his success as a manager, Herzog once said, "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it." (Herzog has made this statement several times, most recently in an interview with Fox Sports Midwest which has aired several times in August and September 2007 during St. Louis Cardinals rain delays).[1]

Managerial careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Herzog began his off-field baseball career as a scout for the Athletics in 1964[2][3], then spent single seasons as a coach for the A's (1965) and the New York Mets (1966). Herzog then moved into the Mets front office for six seasons as the team's director of player development.[3]

Managerial successEdit

Herzog started his managerial career with the Texas Rangers (1973), following with the California Angels (1974 on an interim basis; as a coach, he filled in between the firing of Bobby Winkles and the hiring of Dick Williams.[4]), Kansas City Royals (1975–1979) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980–90). He had his greatest success in Kansas City, where he won three straight American League Western division titles from 1976 to 1978, and in St. Louis, where he won the 1982 World Series and the National League Pennant in 1985 and 1987. In total, he led six division winners, three pennant winners, and one World Series winner in compiling a 1,281-1,125 career record.

With his extensive background in player development, Herzog also was a general manager with both the Cardinals (1980-1982)[5] and the California Angels. He succeeded Jack Krol as manager of the Redbirds in 1980[6], managed for 73 games, then moved into the club's front office as GM on August 26, turning the team over to Red Schoendienst. During the offseason, Herzog reclaimed the manager job, then held both the GM and field manager posts with St. Louis for almost two full seasons, during which he acquired or promoted many players who would star on the Cards' three World Series teams of the 1980s.[5]


Main article: Whiteyball

Herzog's style of play, based on the strategy of attrition, was nicknamed "Whiteyball"[7] and concentrated on pitching, speed, and defense to win games rather than on home runs. Herzog's lineups generally consisted of one or more base-stealing threats at the top of the lineup, with a power threat such as George Brett or Jack Clark hitting third or fourth, protected by one or two hitters with lesser power, followed by more base stealers. This tactic kept payrolls low, while allowing Herzog to win a lot of games in stadiums with deep fences and artificial turf, both of which were characteristics of Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) and Busch Memorial Stadium during his managerial career.

A less noticed (at the time) aspect of Herzog's offensive philosophy was his preference for patient hitters with high on-base percentages[8]: such players included Royals Brett, Hal McRae, and Amos Otis, and Cardinals Clark, Keith Hernandez, José Oquendo, and Ozzie Smith, as well as Darrell Porter, who played for Herzog in both Kansas City and St. Louis. However, in St. Louis Herzog also employed free-swinging hitters who were less patient but fast runners, such as Lonnie Smith, Vince Coleman and Willie McGee.

Late yearsEdit

Herzog also expressed an interest in becoming President of the National League when that job opened in 1986.[9] The role eventually went to Yale University President A. Bartlett Giamatti, who also became the Commissioner of baseball in 1989. In an interview, after Giamatti accepted the job of NL President, Marv Albert jokingly asked Herzog if he would be interested in the job opening for President of Yale University. Herzog replied, "I get the idea you're trying to be funny, and that's not funny at all."[10]

After leaving the Cardinals in 1990, Herzog then held various front office and consulting posts with the Angels, including a brief stint (1993-1994) as general manager. Herzog and Jim Leyland were leading candidates to become manager of the Boston Red Sox following the 1996 season. Both rejected offers from the Red Sox, so the team hired Jimy Williams instead.[11] Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee on December 7, 2009, receiving 14 of a possible 16 votes.[12] Herzog's induction into the Hall of Fame will occur July 25, 2010.[12]


  1. Template:Cite journal
  2. Peterson, John E. (2003). The Kansas City Athletics: A Baseball History, 1954-1967. McFarland.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Launius, Roger D. (2002). Seasons in the Sun. University of Missouri Press.
  4. "Williams Will Manage Angels On 3 - Year Pact; Winkles Out; Angels Hire Dick Williams After Dismissing Winkles", The New York Times, June 28, 1974, p. 27. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Cards' Herzog in Dual Role", The New York Times, October 25, 1980, p. 18. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  6. "Cards Drop Boyer And Name Herzog; Worst Record in Majors", The New York Times, June 9, 1980, p. C7. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  7. O'Hearn, Michael (2007). The Story of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Creative Company.
  8. Newhan, Ross. "A Deep Team Rises to Top Despite Injuries, Cardinals Are Flying High and Leading NL East", Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1987, p. Sports 3. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  9. "Will Herzog Be Next N.L. President?", San Jose Mercury News, May 3, 1986, p. 8E. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  10. Craig, Jack. "The Hoop Season's Over, but the Hoopla Goes On", The Boston Globe, June 10, 1986. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  11. "Red Sox hire Jimy Williams.", St. Petersburg Times, November 20, 1996, p. 6C. Retrieved on 23 December 2008.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specifiedHummel, Rick (7 December 2009). . St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved on 7 December 2009.

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