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The Cardinal Nation Blog top stories of 2009 #14: Whitey to the Hall

Whitey Herzog, the leader of the 1980’s St. Louis Cardinals, was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

    Consider it the ultimate in respect for a baseball manager to be such an innovator that his club’s unique style of play is given its own descriptive term, one which has stood the test of time.

    Whitey Herzog in 1986 (AP photo)Of course, I am speaking of Whitey Herzog and “Whiteyball”, his 1980’s St. Louis Cardinals teams known forever for their daring on the basepaths, emphasis on defense and a roster almost devoid of sluggers, with line-drive hitters in their place.

    Herzog achieved the pinnacle of recognition and validation of his place in baseball history on December 7, as the results of a Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote was announced. Herzog will be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown, New York on July 25 after receiving 14 of 16 possible votes.

    The now-78-year-old managed in the Major Leagues for 18 seasons, with his greatest success achieved during his final 11 with the Cardinals. Whitey had earlier stints with Texas, California and Kansas City. Overall, his clubs won six division titles, three pennants and the 1982 World Series, breaking a long draught for the Cardinals since their glory days of the 1960’s.

    Even with all the success of the Cardinals in this just-ended decade of the 2000’s, the club only made two Series appearances. Herzog’s teams had three during the pre-wild card era 1980’s, with a roster he was primarily responsible for assembling.

    After serving as Cardinals’ manager for part of 1980 and general manager for the remainder of the year, Herzog held both positions from 1981-1982, acquiring and managing many of the players that would bring the Cardinals those World Series appearances.

    Following the 1982 success, Whitey also led his 1985 and 1987 clubs into the October classic, where they fell to the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins, respectively. Herzog received the 1985 National League Manager of the Year Award and was named 1980s Manager of the Decade by Sports Illustrated.

    Herzog left managing during the 1990 season, finishing with 1,281 wins, which ranks him 32nd among all-time managers. His 822 victories at the helm of the Cardinals place him third in franchise history, after Tony La Russa and Red Schoendienst.

    Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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    Brian Walton

    Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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