Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog

1B, CF, LF, OF, RF
November 9, 1931
5' 11"
182 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-17-1956 with WS1
Allstar Selections:
1985 Mgr
Hall of Fame:

    "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it." - Whitey Herzog

Affectionately called The White Rat, Herzog earned respect in baseball for his superb managerial skills. He led six division winners, three pennant winners and one World Champion (the 1982 Cardinals). Herzog was named Manager of the Year in 1976 by UPI, and in 1982 by TSN and UPI. He was also voted Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in 1985 for leading St. Louis to the NL pennant. In 1981 and 1982, when he was also GM, the UPI named him Executive of the Year as well. Columnist Larry King once said, "Every game is like a chess match with Whitey, and other managers must feel like they are playing against 10 guys when they go up against him." Although Whitey Herzog had an eight-year career as a major league player, he is much better known for the 19 years that he managed in the major leagues. He missed being elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007 by the Veterans Committee by only one vote, and was elected in 2009.

Playing career:

In the minors, Herzog missed the 1953-1954 seasons while serving in the military. His minor league career spanned six seasons, and he hit .291.

Herzog was an outfielder who broke in with the Washington Senators in 1956, hitting only .245 but getting 7 triples. He stole 8 bases, and undoubtedly could have stolen more but base-stealing was not then in fashion (the league leader, Luis Aparicio, had 21). He was eventually relegated to back-up duties, and then sold to another perennial doormat team, the Kansas City Athletics, in the days when Roger Maris was an outfielder there. Herzog hit a personal-best .293 in 1959. In 1960, he had a chance to compare notes with another future manager on the team, Dick Williams.

He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1961, and was able to get 323 at-bats, hitting .291 on a team that finished third in the league. Dick Williams also moved to the Orioles in a separate trade. Herzog was the third outfielder on the team, while Williams was the # 5 outfielder. In 1962, though, Herzog hit a bit lower, .266, and was relegated to being a back-up outfielder, while the Orioles finished 7th. He finished out his career in 1963 with the Detroit Tigers.

Post Playing career:

After retiring, Herzog moved to the Kansas City A's as a scout (1964) and coach (1965) and the New York Mets (1966-1972) as a coach, scout, and eventually as the farm director.

Whitey was successful as a manager both with the Kansas City Royals of the 1970's and the St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980's incorporating "Whiteyball". His teams had six division championships, three pennants and one World Series title. His top player with Kansas City was George Brett and his best-known players with St. Louis were probably Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee.

What was whiteyball?

Herzog's style of play, based on the strategy of attrition, was nicknamed "Whiteyball" and concentrated on pitching, speed, and defense to win games rather than on home runs. Herzog's lineups generally consisted of 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 a lot of games 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, a tatic Bill James and money ball latched onto in more recent years, 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.

In addition to managing the Texas Rangers, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals, Whitey Herzog was General Manager of the Cardinals from 1980 to 1982 and of the Angels in 1993 and 1994.

Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on December 7, 2009 in a vote of the Veterans Committee for managers and umpires. His induction will take place in 2010.

His grandson, John Urick, has played professionally since 2003.


"A sense of humor (needs for successful manager) and a good bullpen."

"For being book smart, I thought he (A. Barlett Giamatti) had a lot of street smarts, which is tough to find sometimes." Source: Washington Post (September 3, 1989)

Herzog's Rules
    1. Be on time.
    2. Bust your butt.
    3. Play smart.
    4. Have some laughs while you're at it.

"If you don't have outstanding relief pitching, you might as well piss on the fire and call the dogs." Source: White Rat (Whitey Herzog)

"I'm not buddy-buddy with the players. If they need a buddy, let them buy a dog."Source: White Rat (Whitey Herzog)

"The only thing bad about winning the pennant is that you have to manage the All-Star Game the next year. I'd rather go fishing for three days." Source: The Baseball Card Engagement Book (1989)

"The only way to make money as a manager is to win in one place, get fired and hired somewhere else."

"The way we have been playing, I might tell my players not to cross the picket line (umpire strike of 1979)."

"We need just two players to be a contender. Just Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax."

"We need three kinds of pitching: left handed, right handed, and relief."

"What counts aren't the number of double plays, but the ones you should have had and missed."

"You sweat out the free agent thing in November then you make the trades in December. Then you struggle to sign the guys left in January and in February I get down to sewing all the new numbers on the uniforms." Source: The Baseball Card Engagement Book (1989)

External Sources:
BR Bullpen
Baseball Almanac

1982 World Series, Baseball History, Hall of Fame, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Whitey Herzog
Share |