Former St. Louis Cardinals manager and New Athens native Whitey Herzog never knew what the colorful Joaquin Andujar would do next.
“I loved him,” Herzog said of Andujar, the former Cardinals pitcher who died Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. “He made managing fun because every day, it was something. But you know, he would take the ball and he would pitch. He was a good competitor.”
Andujar, nicknamed “One Tough Dominican,” was 62. He was a four-time All-Star who pitched for the Cardinals from 1981-85. He also pitched for Houston (1976-81, 1988) and Oakland (1986-87).
Andujar suffered from diabetes.
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“I hadn’t seen him since the last weekend of the old Busch (in 2005),” Herzog said. “That’s the last time I saw him and talked to him. He was very thin and very withdrawn. In fact, when I sat down next to him, I didn’t really know who he was.
“But he was the same ‘ol Joaquin. Guys like that are good for the game.”
Andujar’s best seasons were with the Cardinals in 1984 and 1985, when he finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award balloting both years.
In 1984, Andujar was 20-14 with a 3.34 ERA in 36 starts, working an NL-high 261 1/3 innings. In 1985, he helped the Cardinals reach the World Series, finishing 21-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 38 starts. Andujar also won the Gold Glove Award in 1984.
Andujar helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 1982 when he was 15-10 with a 2.47 ERA.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of the best pitchers in Cardinals history,” principal Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement released by the ballclub. “Joaquin Andujar was ‘One Tough Dominican’ who endeared himself to Cardinals fans not only with his great talent, but also with his unrivaled passion for the game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and his teammates today.”
Andujar made several memorable comments to the media during his career. One of the most popular ones was when he said: “My favorite word in English is youneverknow.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn’t know Andujar well.
“I watched him play just on TV, obviously,” Matheny said. “I’ve heard a lot of great stories (about him) on the field as a competitor and stories (about him) in the clubhouse, the personality he was as a teammate.”