Dorrel Norman Elvert "Whitey" Herzog (born November 9 1931) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder, scout, coach, manager, general manager and farm system director. He was born in New Athens, Illinois.
A left-handed batter and thrower, Herzog originally signed with the New York Yankees. While he never appeared in a major league game for them, Herzog was profoundly influenced by their legendary manager, Casey Stengel, during several spring training sessions with the Yanks. After being traded by New York as a prospect, he played for the Washington Senators (-1958), Kansas City Athletics (-), Baltimore Orioles (-) and Detroit Tigers (). In eight seasons, Herzog batted .254 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 once said, "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it." (Herzog has made this statement several times, most recently in an interview with Fox Sports Midwest which has aired several times in August and September 2007 during St. Louis Cardinals rain delays).
Herzog began his off-field baseball career as a scout for the Athletics in , then spent single seasons as a coach for the A's and the New York Mets (). Herzog then moved into the Mets front office for six seasons as the team's director of player development.
Herzog started his managerial career with the Texas Rangers following with the California Angels (on an interim basis; as a coach, he filled in between the firing of Bobby Winkles and the hiring of Dick Williams), Kansas City Royals (-) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-90). He had his greatest success in Kansas City, where he won three straight American League Western division titles from to , 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 career record.
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 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 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 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: such players included Royals Brett, Hal McRae, and Amos Otis, and Cardinals Clark, Keith Hernandez, Jose 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.
With his extensive background in player development, Herzog also was a general manager with both the Cardinals (-) and the California Angels. He succeeded Jack Krol as manager of the Redbirds in 1980, 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 Cards' three World Series teams of the 1980s.
Herzog also expressed an interest in becoming President of the National League when that job opened in 1986. The role eventually went to Yale University President A. Bartlett Giamatti, who also became the Commissioner of baseball in 1989. In an interview, 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, "That's not funny, Marv."
After leaving the Cardinals in , Herzog then held various front office and consulting posts with the Angels, including a brief stint (-) as general manager. He was a leading candidate to become manager of the Boston Red Sox following the 1996 season, however the Red Sox hired Jimy Williams instead.
Mike Shropshire. Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History," The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers.(Book review)
Sep 22, 2005; Mike Shropshire. Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History," The 1973-1975 Texas...