HomeTeamsCardinalsHall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog Passes Away

Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog Passes Away

The Cardinals announced the passing of Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog at 92 years old on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization, I would like to offer our condolences to the family and many friends of Whitey Herzog,” said Cardinals’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr. “Whitey and his teams played a big part in changing the direction of the Cardinals franchise in the early 1980s with an exciting style of play that would become known as “Whitey Ball” throughout baseball. Whitey loved the Cardinals, their fans, and St. Louis. He will be sorely missed.”

The Herzog family issued the following statement:

“Whitey spent his last few days surrounded by his family.  We have so appreciated all of the prayers and support from friends who knew he was very ill.  Although it is hard for us to say goodbye, his peaceful passing was a blessing for him.”

The New Athens, Ill. native managed the Cardinals to the 1982 World Series championship and two National League pennants in 1985 and 1987, respectively. He was named as the NL Manager of the Year following the 1985 season. His style of play brought a brand to St. Louis that would come to be known as “Whitey Ball.” It was Herzog’s way of playing chess out on the baseball field so to speak. Others describe it as the manner in which Herzog used the resources available to him at hand. He chose to focus on pitching, defense, and speed to win games rather than hitting for power. A Herzog lineup would consist of base-stealers at the top before moving into the power-hitting threats.

Herzog came over to the Cardinals as a replacement for Ken Boyer during the 1980 season. It was a very different squad and he would manage the team to their first World Series in well over a decade. The 1980 team could hit for average but they weren’t a team that hit for power. In any event, he brought the Whiteyball style to St. Louis after coming over from the Kansas City Royals, where Herzog managed the team to three consecutive American League Western division titles in 1976-78.

Doubling as both general manager and manager, Herzog managed and signed players in a way that would benefit the team and Whitey’s approach to the game. His approach would have been different had he been managing at a different ballpark. Imagine how he might have approached putting a team together had he managed at a pitcher’s park verses a hitter’s park. Consider what he might have done at a place like Wrigley Field where the wind is blowing across the lake.

The Cardinals would bring in three million fans twice during Herzog’s managerial reign at the late Busch Stadium. Only once during Herzog’s managing the Cardinals did the club record over 300+ stolen bases in a single season. It remains a Cardinals team record to this date. As a Cardinals manager, Herzog holds a 822-728 record.

His brief playing career ended in 1963 before transitioning into scouting and coaching. It was while serving as the New York Mets scout and farm director that the Miracle Mets won the 1969 World Series. This would be the first of two World Series rings.

Herzog’s managerial career started in 1973 when he managed the Texas Rangers but was fired shortly before the end of the season. He moved further west to be the third base coach for the then-California Angels during the 1974 season and later served as the team’s interim manager. Herzog struck gold for the first time when he managed the Kansas City Royals during the 1975-79 seasons. After being named the interim Cardinals manager in 1980, he would be the full-time manager during the 1981-1990 seasons, resigning in July 1980. The Cardinals retired his #24 jersey.

After a 1,281-1,125 managerial record, Herzog was election by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee for the Class of 2010 with 87.5% (14/16) of the vote. The Cardinals would later induct Herzog into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2014.

Herzog is survived by his wife of 71 years, Mary Lou Herzog, their three children; Debra, David and Jim, and their spouses; nine grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. At the time of his passing, Herzog was the 2nd oldest living National Baseball Hall of Famer. Willie Mays, also 92, was born in May of 1931, six months prior to Whitey (November 9, 1931).

The Herzog family is planning a private celebration of life service after a period of grieving, and ask that any donations please be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children.


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