Whitey Herzog entered Baseball’s Hall of Fame and his number was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in July.
Ever since Herzog won six division titles, three league championships and a World Series during his 18-year managerial career, he has been a big fan favorite in St. Louis. The popularity of “The White Rat” remains strong despite the fact he has not managed the Cardinals for over 20 years.
Last December, as the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee balloting was announced, only two of twenty candidates made it, including Herzog. He received 14 of a possible 16 votes after having fallen short of the 75 percent vote required for election in special balloting in both 2003 and 2007.
Whitey was formally inducted into the Hall on July 25 in Cooperstown, New York with umpire Doug Harvey. Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson also entered the Hall via the regular writers’ vote.
The Cardinals put an exclamation point on the recognition when they held a special ceremony on July 31 to retire Herzog’s number 24. He became just the 13th individual in the history of the franchise to be so honored.
For 18 seasons, Herzog managed in the Major Leagues, the final 11 with the Cardinals after earlier stints in Texas, California and Kansas City. Herzog received the 1985 National League Manager of the Year Award and was named 1980s Manager of the Decade by Sports Illustrated.
From 1973 until 1990, Herzog’s clubs won 1,279 games and lost 1,143 for a .532 winning percentage. He held almost every position in baseball, including player, scout, general manager, coach, farm system director and manager. In eight seasons primarily as an outfielder, he hit .257 with 25 home runs, 172 RBI and a .979 fielding percentage with the Senators, Athletics, Orioles and Tigers from 1956 to 1963.
After serving as Cardinals’ manager for part of 1980 and general manager for the other part of the year, Herzog held both positions from 1981-1982, acquiring and managing many of the players that would bring the Cardinals three World Series appearances in the decade – the 1985 and 1987 NL pennants and the 1982 World Championship. Herzog, whose teams’ style of play was dubbed “Whitey Ball”, featured speed, defense and a strong bullpen.
Herzog left managing during the 1990 season, ranking 32nd in all-time wins. His 822 victories at the helm of the Cardinals is third-most in franchise history, after Tony La Russa and Red Schoendienst.