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Put the White Rat in the Hall, boys

This is the year that the Hall of Fame Veteran's Committee needs to step up and put Whitey Herzog in the Hall of Fame.

The committee votes Dec. 6 to decide who from a group including Charlie Grimm, Doug Harvey, Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Danny Murtaugh, Hank O'Day and Steve O'Neill gets the nod. Candidates have to be named on 75 percent of ballots to make it, and Herzog narrowly missed the mark the last time he was considered two years ago.

Herzog's numbers are good enough to make the hall on their own merit. He won a World Series and three pennants with the Cardinals and six division titles split between St. Louis and the Royals.

But, if that's not enough, the White Rat should be recognized for revolutionizing the game of baseball. In a world of plodding power hitters and station-to-station baserunning, Herzog went in a completely opposite direction and stocked his roster with speedsters who could manufacture runs with singles and walks, stolen bases and sacrifices... Opponents laughed about the annual question of whether the entire St. Louis roster would match Roger Maris' then record of 61 homers in a season. But the Redbirds won with regularity.

If not for the infamous Don Denkinger call in the 1985 World Series and the fact that Slugger Jack Clark and third baseman Jose Oquendo were hurt during the 1987 World Series against the Twins, Herzog could easily have two or three World Series rings and there would be no debate.

So, come on veteran's committee. Give Whitey what he deserves while he is still around to enjoy it.