Cardinals Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog dies

Manager Whitey Herzog

The former manager for the St. Louis Cardinals known for his unique style of baseball has died.

Whitey Herzog was 92 years old.

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The Cardinals organization confirmed Herzog’s death to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog was born in New Athens, Illinois, but made St. Louis home during and after his MLB career, KSDK reported.

The Yankees had signed Herzog as a player out of high school in 1949. He got the nickname, “Whitey” from a sportscaster in MacAlester, Oklahoma, according to the Dispatch.

But he never played for the Yankees as he was traded to Washington senators, then the Kansas City A’s, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers from 1956 through 1963. He hit .254 over those years.

Before becoming a manager, Herzog was a scout, and coach before eventually serving as director of player development for the New York Mets. He helped build the Mets’ 1969 and 1973 championship teams.

Herzog had been the manager of the Kansas City Royals but was named the head coach for the Cardinals before the start of the 1980 season, The Athletic reported.

Cardinals owner August Busch Jr. when offering the job of General Manager to Herzog, told him, “Whitey, get me one more championship,” the publication reported.

Herzog agreed and wore two hats — GM and manager. He crafted his roster through eight transactions, bringing 31 players to the team - specific players who would be able to dominate the astroturf of Busch Stadium. In doing so he created “Whiteyball,” a style of baseball that he started with the Royals and then brought to the Cardinals.

One of the players he brought to St. Louis was future Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, according to the Dispatch.

The team ended up winning their first World Series in 15 years in 1982. They had stolen 200 bases to get there. Three years later, they surpassed that number with 314 stolen bases. Vince Coleman accounted for 110 of them.

Stolen bases were the key to winning, Herzog said.

“The stolen bases would put a guy into scoring position and then it would take a ground ball and a fly ball for a run,” the manager said, according to the Dispatch.

“I changed the whole concept of the way to play baseball because we couldn’t hit a home run and we could neutralize the power of the other team in our ball park,” Herzog said. “So I kind of just went with speed, which is the one thing in baseball you can use on both sides of the ball. You can use it on offense and defense.”

The stolen bases led to winning, which led to attendance records. Over four years, the team sold over 3 million tickets, Herzog had said.

Over his career, Herzog won three division titles and three league titles.

He also had a career record as manager for not only the Royals and Cardinals but also the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of 1,281-1,125 over the four teams, The Athletic reported.

He was 822-728 for the Cardinals as manager, KTVI reported

Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans’ committee in 2009. He was inducted in 2010. He’s also a member of the Cardinal’s Hall of Fame, having his No. 24 retired.

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