Whitey Herzog, Corridor of Fame old-school supervisor of Cardinals and Royals, dies at 92

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With a flattop haircut, pointed opinions and a Midwestern sensibility, Whitey Herzog cast a Corridor of Fame profession managing Main League Baseball’s two Missouri groups by implementing a mode that bears little resemblance to right this moment’s recreation.

Herzog’s signature 1982 World Sequence champion St. Louis Cardinals staff adopted a number of profitable but finally irritating seasons with the Kansas Metropolis Royals and was adopted by two extra World Sequence appearances with the Cardinals. All have been constructed on velocity, protection and a deep bullpen with Herzog not caring a whit about dwelling runs.

He additionally managed the Angels for 4 video games in 1974 and was one thing of an absentee entrance workplace govt from 1991 till he abruptly resigned a month earlier than 1994 spring coaching, the membership no nearer to giving common proprietor Gene Autry a World Sequence than when Herzog got here aboard.

Herzog died Monday at age 92.

“Whitey spent his previous few days surrounded by his household,” the Herzog household mentioned in an announcement launched by the Cardinals. “We’ve got so appreciated all the prayers and assist from associates who knew he was very sick. Though it’s exhausting for us to say goodbye, his peaceable passing was a blessing for him.”

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St. Louis Cardinals supervisor Whitey Herzog, proper, toasts with staff proprietor August “Gussie” Busch Jr. after the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers to win the World Sequence in St. Louis on Oct. 21, 1982.

(Related Press)

Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog grew up in New Athens, In poor health., to working-class dad and mom. As a teen, Herzog, referred to as Relly by household and associates, would hitchhike to Sportsman’s Park to look at Cardinals video games, arriving early sufficient to grab up batting apply balls that he and associates would use throughout pickup video games.

The left-handed Herzog starred in baseball and basketball in highschool and was signed by the New York Yankees after graduating in 1949. He picked up the nickname “Whitey” from a broadcaster whereas taking part in within the minors.

In 4 years he superior from Class D to Class AAA, however after the 1952 season he was drafted into the Military and spent two years within the Military Corps of Engineers. Upon ending his hitch and returning to baseball in 1955, Herzog had a breakout season, batting .289 with 21 dwelling runs and 98 runs batted in at Class AAA Denver.

Throughout spring coaching he was taken underneath the wing of Casey Stengel, the legendary Yankees supervisor who gained seven World Sequence titles from 1949 to 1958 and whose pearls of knowledge in fractured English have been priceless.

“After I met Stengel, it was like an enlightening factor as a result of I might go to mattress at evening, as an alternative of occupied with ladies, I might be occupied with what the hell he talked about all day,” Herzog mentioned throughout his 2010 Corridor of Fame induction speech.

“Casey and I used to take a seat within the press room throughout spring coaching and each evening we might have a number of pops and speak baseball, amongst different issues. And Casey informed me so many issues that I’ve been utilizing the remainder of my life. For some motive he knew I used to be going to be an enormous league supervisor.”

Herzog by no means acquired to play for the Yankees. He was traded shortly earlier than opening day in 1956 to the Washington Senators and batted .245 as a beginning outfielder. He performed eight seasons within the majors, batting .257 with 25 dwelling runs and 172 RBIs in 1,614 at-bats with the Senators, Kansas Metropolis Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

He spent the 1964 season scouting for the Athletics, then served because the New York Mets’ first-base coach in 1965 earlier than changing into director of participant growth for the subsequent six years. Herzog was handed over in favor of Yogi Berra to switch deceased Mets supervisor Gil Hodges earlier than the 1972 season and was employed to handle the Texas Rangers a yr later.

Herzog gave little indication he’d turn into a Corridor of Fame supervisor — the Rangers have been 47-91 once they fired him as a result of Billy Martin turned obtainable. In 1974, he turned the Angels’ third-base coach and managed the staff for 4 midseason video games after Bobby Winkles was fired and earlier than Dick Williams was employed, going 2-2.

Royals normal supervisor Joe Burke gave Herzog his first huge break, hiring him in late July after firing Jack McKeon regardless of the staff’s 50-46 document. The Royals — as did the Cardinals within the Eighties — performed on synthetic turf, and Herzog acknowledged that gamers with velocity and slick gloves tailored greatest on a floor that noticed floor balls zip by way of the infield.

“The important thing to having a great staff on turf is that you need to have an actual good-throwing shortstop, as a result of he must play deep and make numerous throws from the outlet,” Herzog mentioned.

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Kansas Metropolis Royals Corridor of Fame members Whitey Herzog, left, and George Brett shake palms after the primary pitch ceremony earlier than the beginning of a recreation between the Royals and Detroit Tigers on April 5, 2010, in Kansas Metropolis.

(Orlin Wagner / Related Press)

Freddie Patek was Herzog’s shortstop in Kansas Metropolis, but it surely was the participant standing subsequent to him at third base that made the largest affect: George Brett, who gained the American League batting title in 1976. Seven Royals gamers stole not less than 20 bases that yr whereas the staff dwelling run chief was Amos Otis with a paltry 18.

The Royals gained the American League West in every of Herzog’s first three full seasons, but by no means reached the World Sequence, dropping to the Yankees within the AL Championship Sequence annually. In 1979 the Royals didn’t make the playoffs and Herzog was fired.

He didn’t go far to discover a new gig, changing Ken Boyer because the Cardinals’ supervisor 51 video games into the 1980 season. That fall he was named normal supervisor as properly and enthusiastically embraced the position in the course of the winter conferences, buying and selling six pitchers, three catchers, two infielders and one outfielder for 4 pitchers, two catchers and an outfielder.

Amongst the noteworthy names that got here and went have been Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, Terry Kennedy, Gene Tenace and Leon Durham. That offseason, Herzog additionally signed free agent Darrell Porter, who had been his catcher in Kansas Metropolis. In 1982, Porter was voted Most worthy participant of the NLCS and the World Sequence for St. Louis.

“At any time when I might get discouraged and begin feeling like I simply didn’t belong within the main leagues, Whitey was at all times there to raise my spirits,” Porter mentioned. “He would inform me, ‘You’re my catcher. You’ll come again and also you’ll be all proper tomorrow,’ and simply the way in which he mentioned it made me imagine in myself.”

A yr later, Herzog shuffled extra Playing cards, making strikes that set the stage for 3 World Sequence appearances by buying and selling for acclaimed shortstop Ozzie Smith and outfielders Willie McGee and Lonnie Smith whereas additionally re-signing beginning pitcher Joaquin Andujar.

The roster was set for full-fledged “Whitey Ball,” because it was recognized, and the 1982 Cardinals hit simply 67 dwelling runs whereas stealing 200 bases to the soundtrack of “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. St. Louis gained the World Sequence in seven video games over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cardinals ran much more when Herzog plugged Vince Coleman into the leadoff spot. The outfielder had 110 of the staff’s 314 stolen bases in 1985 and one other title may need resulted however for probably the most notorious blown calls in baseball historical past.

St. Louis led their intrastate rival Royals three video games to 2 and by one run in Sport 6 of the World Sequence when Jorge Orta led off the ninth with a floor ball to Cardinals first baseman Jack Clark. Pitcher Todd Worrell coated first, Clark tossed him the ball in time to document the out … besides that umpire Don Denkinger referred to as Orta secure.

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Cardinals supervisor Whitey Herzog lets umpire John Shulock, proper, understand how he feels about Shulock’s name on the tag try on Kansas Metropolis Royals’ Jim Sundberg by Cardinals catcher Tom Nieto, second from left, within the second inning of Sport 5 of the World Sequence in St. Louis on Oct. 24, 1985.

(Peter Southwick / Related Press)

The shaken Cardinals imploded, dropping that recreation and Sport 7 the subsequent day. ‘’We had the damned World Sequence gained,’’ Herzog mentioned.

St. Louis returned to the World Sequence as soon as extra underneath Herzog, dropping in seven video games to the Minnesota Twins in 1987. Herzog resigned midway by way of the 1990 season, lamenting that he might not encourage his gamers.

“I used to be completely embarrassed by the way in which our staff performed,” mentioned Herzog, whose lifetime document was 1,281 wins, 1,125 losses and three ties. “I simply really feel very badly for the ball membership, the group and the followers.”

The Angels employed Herzog in September 1991 as senior vp of participant personnel, hoping his analysis acumen might elevate a franchise that had by no means been to a World Sequence. As a substitute, in his 2½ years on the job the Angels regressed. Herzog was annoyed by payroll constraints imposed by Gene and Jackie Autry and the burgeoning position of brokers in negotiating contracts.

“Whitey is the sort who, when he desires to get one thing achieved, he desires to do it now and is probably not a diplomat if he’s prevented from it,” Angels supervisor Buck Rodgers mentioned on the time. “If the time was proper, he needed to really feel he might go get that yet one more man.”

Herzog had developed a friendship with Gene Autry as an Angels coach years earlier, and the Singing Cowboy allowed Herzog to work out of his dwelling in St. Louis. The association proved problematic, despite the fact that staff president Richard Brown insisted to the tip that it wasn’t. “I maintain a beeper with me always,” Brown mentioned the day Herzog resigned. “It has an 800 quantity. I used to be by no means out of contact with Whitey.”

Retired from baseball, Herzog was by no means removed from the sport. He’d floor every spring — and typically in the course of the season — and was at all times keen to voice his opinions.

“The state of the sport in baseball is about as dangerous as I’ve ever seen it,” Herzog informed the St. Louis Submit-Dispatch shortly earlier than turning 90 in 2021. “It’s all strikeouts and residential runs and a excessive variety of pitches.”

“After which, the commissioner [Rob Manfred], who’s by no means worn a jockstrap, has all these guidelines … and the way in which each supervisor is utilizing his bullpen now … out of 54 outs each evening, you’ve acquired about 22 strikeouts between the 2 groups and 10 walks. So that you’ve acquired 32 guys each evening that don’t hit the baseball.”

Groups on common hit about 170 dwelling runs and stole 85 bases in 2022, the polar reverse of his Eighties groups. Herzog died believing Whitey Ball was extra thrilling than the present model of baseball.

“The followers beloved it,” he informed the Submit-Dispatch. “I nonetheless have followers day by day that need to shake my hand for giving them thrilling baseball for 10 years. On the grocery retailer, on the gasoline station, on the financial institution … everyone who acknowledges me remembers the ’80s.”

Herzog is survived by his spouse of 71 years, Mary Lou, youngsters Debbie Urick, David Herzog and Jim Herzog. His grandson John Urick performed six seasons within the minor leagues.

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