Joining Andre Dawson and Doug Harvey in Cooperstown this weekend will be Whitey Herzog, a man who famously said, "baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it."
After an unspectacular eight-year career as a player, Herzog served as a general manager, scout, and farm system director, but he's joining the Baseball Hall of Fame on the merits of a managing career that featured three National League pennant wins and one World Series championship.
|1||1973||41||Texas Rangers||AL||1st of 3||138||47||91||.341||6|
|2||1974||42||California Angels||AL||2nd of 3||4||2||2||.500||6|
|3||1975||43||Kansas City Royals||AL||2nd of 2||66||41||25||.621||2|
|4||1976||44||Kansas City Royals||AL||162||90||72||.556||1|
|5||1977||45||Kansas City Royals||AL||162||102||60||.630||1|
|6||1978||46||Kansas City Royals||AL||162||92||70||.568||1|
|7||1979||47||Kansas City Royals||AL||162||85||77||.525||2|
|8||1980||48||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||3rd of 4||73||38||35||.521||4|
|9||1981||49||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||51||30||20||.600||2||First half of season|
|10||1981||49||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||52||29||23||.558||2||Second half of season|
|11||1982||50||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||92||70||.568||1||WS Champs|
|12||1983||51||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||79||83||.488||4|
|13||1984||52||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||84||78||.519||3|
|14||1985||53||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||101||61||.623||1||NL Pennant|
|15||1986||54||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||161||79||82||.491||3|
|16||1987||55||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||95||67||.586||1||NL Pennant|
|17||1988||56||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||162||76||86||.469||5|
|18||1989||57||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||164||86||76||.531||3|
|19||1990||58||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||1st of 3||80||33||47||.413||6|
|Texas Rangers||1 year||138||47||91||.341||6.0|
|California Angels||1 year||4||2||2||.500||6.0|
|Kansas City Royals||5 years||714||410||304||.574||1.4|
|St. Louis Cardinals||11 years||1553||822||728||.530||2.9||3 Pennants and 1 World Series Title|
|Total||18 years||2409||1281||1125||.532||2.8||3 Pennants and 1 World Series Title|
Midway through the 1975 season, Herzog took over as manager of the Kansas City Royals, who had shown promise in their first six years of existence but had yet to take the next step. Under Herzog's leadership, the Royals finished the season by winning 41 of their final 66 games.
The next season, Herzog led the Royals to what would be the first of three consecutive division titles. They were dealt ALCS losses by the Yankees all three times, but Herzog played a large part in building the foundation for the Royals of the 1980s, who would reach the World Series in 1980 and win it in 1985.
Herzog jumped to the other side of Missouri in 1980 to simultaneously serve as manager and general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, and he used his uncommon degree of authority to bring St. Louis a World Series championship in 1982. He took the Cards to two more World Series appearances, losing to his former Royals in seven games in 1985, and falling to the Minnesota Twins in 1987.
His strategy became known as Whiteyball. Contrary to managerial norms, Herzog valued speed and getting on base over home run power. Look, for example, at his 1982 World Series champions: no players hit more than 20 home runs, and only two registered in double digits, but four players stole 24 or more bases.
Herzog's career .532 winning percentage as a manager, his ability to build a championship team from the front office while managing it in the dugout, and his shrewd, unconventional strategy more than justify his induction into Cooperstown this weekend.
During his acceptance speech on Sunday, Herzog may very well lobby on behalf of his deceased friend, Roger Maris, who is not in the Hall of Fame. Herzog once said this of Maris:
"You couldn't play right field any better than Roger did. He could make every throw, play shallow, and then go get the ball. Roger Maris is probably the best ballplayer to ever play the game who isn't in the Hall of Fame."