From a list of twenty former major league managers, umpires and executives, two have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by two Veterans Committees – former St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey.
The results of Sunday’s vote was announced on Monday at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. “The White Rat” received 14 of 16 possible votes (87.5 percent) and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 25th. He had fallen short of the 75 percent vote required for election in special balloting in both 2003 and 2007.
For 18 seasons, Herzog managed in the Major Leagues, the final 11 with the Cardinals after earlier stints in Texas, California and Kansas City. His clubs won six division titles, three pennants and the 1982 World Series. 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.
The now-78-year-old began his managerial career in 1973 with the Texas Rangers, serving as the first of three managers the team would have that season. The following year he served on an interim basis with the California Angels before being replaced by Hall of Fame Manager Dick Williams, inducted into the Hall himself in 2008.
Herzog the landed the managerial job with the Kansas City Royals midway through the 1975 season, leading them to a 41-25 mark in his 66 games. A year later, Herzog skippered the Royals to 90 wins and their first American League West title.
Over the next 15 seasons, Herzog led his teams to first or second place finishes nine times. The Royals won three straight American League West titles (1976-1979) under Herzog, whose style of play was dubbed “Whitey Ball”, featuring speed, defense and a strong bullpen.
After serving as Cardinals’ manager for part of the year and general manager for the other part in 1980, 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 left managing during the 1990 season, finishing with 1,281 wins, ranking 32nd among all-time managers. His 822 wins at the helm of the Cardinals is third in franchise history, after Tony La Russa and Red Schoendienst.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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