Whitey Herzog
Herzog as manager of the Cardinals in 1987
Outfielder / Manager
Born: (1931-11-09) November 9, 1931 (age 90)
New Athens, Illinois
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 17, 1956, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1963, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.257
Home runs25
Runs batted in172
Managerial record1,281–1,125
Winning %.532
As player
As manager
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election methodVeteran's Committee

Dorrel Norman Elvert "Whitey" Herzog (/ˈhɜːrzɒɡ/; born November 9, 1931) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and manager, most notable for his Major League Baseball (MLB) managerial career.

Born in New Athens, Illinois, Herzog made his MLB debut as a player in 1956 with the Washington Senators. After his playing career ended in 1963, Herzog went on to perform a variety of roles in Major League Baseball, including scout, manager, coach, general manager, and farm system director. As a big-league manager, he led the Kansas City Royals to three consecutive playoff appearances from 1976 to 1978. Hired by Gussie Busch in 1980 to helm the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series over the Milwaukee Brewers and made two other World Series appearances, in 1985 and 1987 under Herzog's direction. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 2010, and was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum on August 16, 2014.

Early life

Herzog was the second of three children born in Illinois to Edgar and Lietta Herzog. His father worked at a brewery and his mother worked at a shoe factory in New Athens, where the family lived. Herzog attended New Athens High School where he played basketball and baseball. Herzog drew interest from the college basketball programs at Saint Louis University and Illinois. As a youth, Herzog delivered newspapers, sold baked goods from a truck, dug graves, and worked at the brewery with his father.[1] He was known as "Relly" — a diminutive of Dorrel, his given first name.[1]

Herzog's older brother, Therron Herman Herzog, played a year of minor league baseball in 1954 in the Cotton States League.[1][2]

Playing career

A left-handed batter and thrower, Herzog originally signed with the New York Yankees by scout Lou Maguolo.[citation needed] While playing for the McAlester Rockets in the Sooner State League in 1949 and 1950, a sportscaster gave Herzog the nickname "Whitey" due to his light blonde hair and resemblance to blonde Yankees pitcher Bob "The White Rat" Kuzava.[1] In 1953, during the Korean War, Herzog briefly interrupted his playing career to join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during which time he was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and managed the camp's baseball team.[1]

After being traded by New York as a prospect, he played for the Washington Senators (1956–1958), Kansas City Athletics (1958–1960), Baltimore Orioles (1961–62) and Detroit Tigers (1963). In eight seasons, Herzog batted .257 with 25 home runs, 172 runs batted in, 213 runs scored, 60 doubles, 20 triples, and 13 stolen bases, in 634 games. In reference to his success as a player versus his success as a manager, Herzog has said, "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it."[3]

Player development

After his playing career ended, Herzog rejoined the Athletics for two seasons, as a scout in 1964[4][5] and a coach in 1965.

The next seven years were spent with the New York Mets, the first, in 1966, as the third-base coach for manager Wes Westrum. Beginning in 1967 Herzog then made his mark with the club during his six-year tenure as its director of player development. On his watch, the Mets produced young talent that either became part of the nucleus of its World Series teams in 1969 and 1973 or eventually had successful major league careers. Among them were Gary Gentry, Wayne Garrett, Jon Matlack, John Milner, Amos Otis and Ken Singleton. Herzog was a candidate to become the Mets' manager after the death of Gil Hodges prior to the 1972 season, but was passed over in favor of first-base coach Yogi Berra by chairman of the board M. Donald Grant.[6] He had been ordered to not attend Hodges' funeral by Grant's associates to avoid speculation.[7]

Managerial career

Texas and California

Perceiving Grant's actions as a snub,[6] Herzog left the Mets to accept the first managerial assignment of his career when he signed a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers on November 2, 1972. Taking over the only MLB team that reached 100 losses in 1972, he junked the platoon system used heavily by his predecessor Ted Williams.[8] Hired based on recommendations from general manager Joe Burke to owner Bob Short, Herzog had the understanding that he was to help develop the team's young prospects.[9]

His debut at the helm was a 3–1 Rangers loss to the Chicago White Sox at Arlington Stadium on April 7, 1973. His first victory was a 4–0 decision over the Kansas City Royals five nights later on April 12 at Royals Stadium.[10]

He never got the chance to finish the 1973 season. Three days after a 14–0 defeat at White Sox Park and Texas with a 47–91 record,[10] he was dismissed on September 7.[9] He was succeeded in the interim for one game by Del Wilber and the longer term by Billy Martin, who had been fired by the Detroit Tigers on August 30.[11] Short defended the change by telling reporters, "If my mother were managing the Rangers and I had the opportunity to hire Billy Martin, I'd fire my mother."[9]

Herzog joined the California Angels as its third-base coach beginning with the 1974 campaign. He was named the team's interim manager on June 27, 1974, the same day that his predecessor Bobby Winkles and successor Dick Williams were fired and hired respectively.[12] The first game he managed was a 5–0 win for the Angels who split a four-game weekend series against the Rangers at Anaheim Stadium under his watch.[13][14]

Managerial success

Herzog continued building his managerial credentials with the Kansas City Royals (1975–79) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980–90). He succeeded Jack McKeon as Royals manager on July 24, 1975. At the time, the Royals were in second place in the American League West but trailed the defending and eventual division champion Oakland Athletics by 11 games.[15] He had his greatest success in Kansas City, where he won three straight American League Western division titles from 1976 to 1978, and in St. Louis, where he won the 1982 World Series and the National League Pennant in 1985 and 1987. In total, he led six division winners, three pennant winners, and one World Series winner in compiling a 1,281–1,125 (.532) career record.

With his extensive background in player development, Herzog also was a general manager with both the Cardinals (1980–82)[16] and the California Angels. He succeeded interim skipper Jack Krol as manager of the Redbirds on June 9, 1980,[17] managed for 73 games, then moved into the club's front office as GM on August 26, turning the team over to Red Schoendienst. During the offseason, Herzog reclaimed the manager job, then held both the GM and field manager posts with St. Louis for almost two full seasons, during which he acquired or promoted many players who would star on the Cardinals' three World Series teams of the 1980s.[16] In a 1983 poll of MLB players by The New York Times, Herzog was voted best manager in baseball.[18]


Main article: Whiteyball

Herzog's style of play, based on the strategy of attrition, was nicknamed "Whiteyball"[19] and concentrated on pitching, speed, and defense to win games rather than on home runs. Herzog's lineups generally consisted of one or more base-stealing threats at the top of the lineup, with a power threat such as George Brett or Jack Clark hitting third or fourth, protected by one or two hitters with lesser power, followed by more base stealers. This tactic kept payrolls low, while allowing Herzog to win consistently in stadiums with deep fences and artificial turf, both of which were characteristics of Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) and Busch Memorial Stadium during his managerial career.

A less noticed (at the time) aspect of Herzog's offensive philosophy was his preference for patient hitters with high on-base percentages:[20] such players included Royals Brett, Hal McRae, and Amos Otis, and Cardinals Clark, Keith Hernandez, José Oquendo, and Ozzie Smith, as well as Darrell Porter, who played for Herzog in both Kansas City and St. Louis. However, in St. Louis Herzog also employed free-swinging hitters who were less patient but fast runners, such as Vince Coleman and Willie McGee.

Post-Cardinals career

Whitey Herzog's number 24 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010.

Herzog also expressed an interest in becoming President of the National League when that job opened in 1986.[21] The role eventually went to Yale University President A. Bartlett Giamatti, who also became the Commissioner of baseball in 1989. In a nationally televised interview on NBC, after Giamatti accepted the job of NL President, Marv Albert jokingly asked Herzog if he would be interested in the job opening for President of Yale University. Herzog replied, "Well, you're trying to be funny now, Marv. I don't think that's funny at all."[22]

Herzog's final season with the Cardinals, and in his managerial career, was the 1990 season; he resigned on July 6 of that year with the team at 33–47 and in last place in the NL East. He jokingly stated, "I came here in last place and I leave here in last place. I left them right where I started." His overall Cardinals record is 822 wins and 728 losses.[23] His career managerial record is 1,281 wins and 1,125 losses.[24]

General Manager stint

After leaving the Cardinals in 1990, Herzog then held various front office and consulting posts with the Angels, including a brief stint (1993–94) as general manager.

Later life

Herzog and Jim Leyland were candidates to become manager of the Boston Red Sox following the 1996 season. Both rejected offers from the Red Sox, so the team hired Jimy Williams instead.[25] Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee on December 7, 2009, receiving 14 of a possible 16 votes.[26] Herzog's induction into the Hall of Fame was on July 25, 2010.[26] In addition, the Cardinals retired the number '24', which he wore during his managerial tenure with the club, in his honor on July 31, following his induction.[27] Rick Ankiel was the last Cardinal to wear number 24.

Herzog continues to reside in St. Louis, Missouri. His younger brother, Codell ("Butz") died on February 20, 2010, at 76. He made out Whitey's first lineup with the Cardinals in 1980.[28] His grandson John Urick was a minor league first baseman and outfielder from 2003 until 2010 who played for managers and former Herzog-era Cardinals Garry Templeton and Hal Lanier.[29][30]

In January 2014, the Cardinals announced Herzog among 22 former players and personnel to be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for the inaugural class of 2014.[31]

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
G W L Win % G W L Win %
Texas Rangers 1973 1973 138 47 91 .341
California Angels 1974 1974 4 2 2 .500
Kansas City Royals 1975 1979 714 410 304 .574 14 5 9 .357
St. Louis Cardinals 1980 1980 73 38 35 .521
St. Louis Cardinals 1981 1990 1477 784 693 .531 37 21 16 .568
Total 2406 1281 1125 .532 51 26 25 .510

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e O'Neill, Dan (July 18, 2010). "Whitey Herzog: The pride of New Athens". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Therron Herzog Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  3. ^ Liebman, Glenn (March 1992). "Here Are Some New Names for Humor Hall of Fame". Baseball Digest: 23.
  4. ^ Peterson, John E. (2003). The Kansas City Athletics: A Baseball History, 1954–1967. McFarland. p. 308. ISBN 0-7864-1610-6.
  5. ^ Launius, Roger D. (2002). Seasons in the Sun. University of Missouri Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-8262-1392-8.
  6. ^ a b Sandomir, Richard "Leaving Mets Put Herzog on a Path to the Hall" The New York Times, Saturday, July 24, 2010
  7. ^ Burns, James H. "Baseball Legend Whitey Herzog Goes to the Hall; Should He Go (Back) to the Mets, Too?" The Village Voice (New York, NY), December 14, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  8. ^ "Texas Rangers Name Herzog Manager," United Press International (UPI), Thursday, November 2, 1972. Retrieved April 26, 2020
  9. ^ a b c Rogers, Phil. The Impossible Takes A Little Longer. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1990.
  10. ^ a b 1973 Texas Rangers (schedule, box scores & splits) – Baseball-Reference.com.
  11. ^ Buck, Ray "Stop in Arlington was first in Whitey Herzog's road to Cooperstown" Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Saturday, July 24, 2010
  12. ^ "Williams Will Manage Angels On 3-Year Pact; Winkles Out," The Associated Press (AP), Thursday, June 27, 1974. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  13. ^ McGowen, Deane. "The Other Perry Logs Victory No. 200," The New York Times, Friday, June 28, 1974. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  14. ^ "Hall of Fame skipper Herzog has minor stroke," Reuters, Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  15. ^ "Royals Fire McKeon, Hire Herzog," The Associated Press (AP), Friday, July 25, 1975. Retrieved April 26, 2020
  16. ^ a b "Cards' Herzog in Dual Role". The New York Times. October 25, 1980. p. 18.
  17. ^ "Cards Drop Boyer And Name Herzog; Worst Record in Majors". The New York Times. June 9, 1980. p. C7.
  18. ^ Durso, Joseph (July 4, 1983). "The Players' Choice: Dawson". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  19. ^ O'Hearn, Michael (2007). The Story of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Creative Company. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-58341-551-1.
  20. ^ Newhan, Ross (July 5, 1987). "A Deep Team Rises to Top Despite Injuries, Cardinals Are Flying High and Leading NL East". Los Angeles Times. p. Sports 3.
  21. ^ "Will Herzog Be Next N.L. President?". San Jose Mercury News. May 3, 1986. p. 8E.
  22. ^ "Whitey Herzog / Marv Albert - 1986". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  23. ^ Hummel, Rick. "Herzog Quits as Cardinal Manager," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, July 8, 1990. Retrieved April 26, 2020
  24. ^ a b "Whitey Herzog". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  25. ^ "Red Sox hire Jimy Williams". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. November 20, 1996. p. 6C.
  26. ^ a b Hummel, Rick (December 7, 2009). St. Louis Post-Dispatch https://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/cardinals/story/65E4FC421903E0BC8625768500438DEB?OpenDocument. Retrieved December 7, 2009. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ Cardinals retire Herzog's No. 24 : Sports
  28. ^ Herzog's brother dies; gave Whitey his first Cards lineup (February 21, 2010)
  29. ^ Witz, Billy (September 11, 2010). "Another Branch in a Baseball Family". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  30. ^ "John Urick at baseball-reference.com". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  31. ^ Cardinals Press Release (January 18, 2014). "Cardinals establish Hall of Fame & detail induction process". www.stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
Sporting positions Preceded byJohn Claiborne St. Louis Cardinals General Manager 1980–1982 Succeeded byJoe McDonald Preceded byDan O'Brien Sr. California Angels General Manager 1993–1994 Succeeded byBill Bavasi