Cheap Seats

Whitey gets the call to the Hall

Congratulations to former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog who was elected today to the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

blog post photo

Former Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog. AP

Herzog managed in the major leagues from 1973-90, with the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. It was in Kansas City where Herzog developed his speed-based offensive system known as "Whiteyball," building the foundation of a team that won the American League pennant in 1980. But it was in St. Louis where he perfected the art of stocking his lineup with singles hitters who could get on first, steal second or move around the bases on strategically placed batted balls.

Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith told the Associated Press that Herzog revolutionized his craft.

“I think he was one of the guys who started managers looking at doing more creative things,” Smith said Monday. Smith was on the 16-member panel of veterans that elected Herzog. Candidates needed 12 votes to make it, and Herzog got 14, according to the Associated press.

The 78-year-old Herzog missed by one vote in 2007. Back then he told me that he was afraid, with the new system of only voting on former managers every other year would work against him.

"I think if I was going to make it, i would have made it by now," Herzog said in 2007. "You try not to get too disappointed because it would be an unbelievable honor. But to come that close and not make it is frustrating, I'm not going to lie."

Herzog's enshrinment is a richly deserved and far too long delayed honor. He not only was a great manager, he is one of baseball's greatest ambassadors.

Check back here and in the News-Democrat later for much more on this subject.