Obit Denkinger Baseball

St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, left, is ejected by home plate umpire Don Denkinger, center, during Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. Herzog, who won a title with St. Louis in 1982 has died. He was 92. Joe Ledford/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Whitey Herzog, the gruff and ingenious Hall of Fame manager who guided the St. Louis Cardinals to three pennants and a World Series title in the 1980s and perfected an intricate, nail-biting strategy known as “Whiteyball,” has died. He was 92.

Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said Tuesday the team had been informed of his death by Herzog’s family. The team did not immediately have additional details about Herzog, who had been at Busch Stadium on April 4 for the Cardinals’ home opener.

“Whitey Herzog devoted his lifetime to the game he loved, excelling as a leader on and off the field,” Jane Forbes Clark, chair of the Hall of Fame’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Whitey always brought the best out of every player he managed with a forthright style that won him respect throughout the game.”

A crew-cut, pot-bellied tobacco chewer who had no patience for the “buddy-buddy” school of management, Herzog joined the Cardinals in 1980 and helped end the team’s decade-plus pennant drought by adapting it to the artificial surface and distant fences of Busch Memorial Stadium. A typical Cardinals victory under Herzog was a low-scoring, one-run game, sealed in the final innings by a “bullpen by committee,” relievers who might be replaced after a single pitch, or temporarily shifted to the outfield, then brought back to the mound.

The Cardinals had power hitters in George Hendrick and Jack Clark, but they mostly relied on the speed and resourcefulness of switch-hitters Vince Coleman and Willie McGee, the acrobatic fielding of shortstop and future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and the effective pitching of starters such as John Tudor and Danny Cox and relievers Todd Worrell, Ken Dayley and Jeff Lahti. For the ’82 champions, Herzog didn’t bother rotating relievers, but simply brought in future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter to finish the job.

“They (the media) seemed to think there was something wrong with the way we played baseball, with speed and defense and line-drive hitters,” Herzog wrote in his memoir “White Rat: A Life in Baseball,” published in 1987. “They called it ‘Whiteyball’ and said it couldn’t last.”


Under Herzog, the Cards won pennants in 1982, 1985 and 1987, and the World Series in 1982, when they edged the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games. Herzog managed the Kansas City Royals to division titles in 1976-78, but they lost each time in the league championship to the New York Yankees.

Overall, Herzog was a manager for 18 seasons, compiling a record of 1,281 wins and 1,125 losses. He was named Manager of the Year in 1985 and voted into the Hall by the Veterans Committee in 2010, his plaque noting his “stern, yet good-natured style,” and his emphasis on speed, pitching and defense. Just before he formally entered the Hall, the Cardinals retired his uniform number, 24.

When asked about the secrets of managing, he would reply a sense of humor and a good bullpen.

Herzog is survived by his wife of 71 years, Mary Lou Herzog; their three children, Debra, David and Jim, and their spouses; nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Obit Whitey Herzog Baseball

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog is seen before the start a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog was born in New Athens, Illinois, a blue-collar community that would shape him long after he left. He excelled in baseball and basketball and was open to skipping the occasional class to take in a Cardinals game. Signed up by the Yankees, he was a center fielder who discovered that he had competition from a prospect born just weeks before him, Mickey Mantle.

Herzog never played for the Yankees, but he did get to know manager Casey Stengel, another master shuffler of players who became a key influence. The light-haired Herzog was named “The White Rat” because of his resemblance to Yankees pitcher Bob “The White Rat” Kuzava.


Like so many successful managers, Herzog was a mediocre player, batting just .257 over eight seasons and playing several positions. His best year was with Baltimore in 1961, when he hit .291. He also played for the Washington Senators, Kansas City Athletics and Detroit Tigers, with whom he ended his playing career, in 1963.

“Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it,” he liked to say.

After working as a scout and coach, Herzog was hired in 1967 by the New York Mets as director of player development, with Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan among the future stars he helped bring along. The Mets liked him well enough to designate him the successor to Gil Hodges, but when the manager died suddenly in 1972 the job went to Yogi Berra. Herzog instead debuted with the Texas Rangers the following season, finishing just 47-91 before being replaced by Billy Martin. He managed the Angels for a few games in 1974 and joined the Royals the following season, his time with Kansas City peaking in 1977 when the team finished 102-60.

Many players spoke warmly of Herzog, but he didn’t hesitate to rid his teams of those he no longer wanted, dumping such Cardinals stars as outfielder Lonnie Smith and starting pitcher Joaquin Andujar. One trade worked out brilliantly: Before the 1982 season, he exchanged .300 hitting shortstop Garry Templeton, whom Herzog had chastised for not hustling, for the Padres’ light-hitting Ozzie Smith, now widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in history. Another deal was less far successful: Gold Glove first baseman Keith Hernandez, with whom Herzog had feuded, to the Mets in the middle of 1983 for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. Hernandez led New York to the World Series title in 1986, while Allen and Ownbey were soon forgotten.

Herzog was just as tough on himself, resigning in the middle of 1990 because he was “embarrassed” by the team’s 33-47 record. He served as a consultant and general manager for the Angels in the early ’90s and briefly considered managing the Red Sox before the 1997 season.

If the ’82 championship was the highlight of his career, his greatest blow was the ’85 series. The Cardinals were up 3 games to 2 against his former team, the Royals, and in Game 6 led 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth, with Worrell brought in to finish the job.


Jorge Orta led off and grounded a 0-2 pitch between the mound and first base. In one of the most famous blown calls in baseball history, he was ruled safe by umpire Don Denkinger, even though replays showed first baseman Jack Clark’s toss to Worrell was in time. The Cardinals never recovered. Kansas City rallied for two runs to tie the series and crushed the Cards 11-0 in Game 7.

“No, I’m not bitter at Denkinger,” Herzog told the AP years later. “He’s a good guy, he knows he made a mistake, and he’s a human being. It happened at an inopportune time but I do think they ought to have instant replay in the playoffs and World Series.”

As if testing Herzog’s humor, the Hall inducted him alongside an umpire, Doug Harvey.

“I don’t know why he should get in,” Herzog joked at the time. “Doug kicked me out of more games than any other umpire.”

CARL ERSKINE, who pitched two no-hitters as a mainstay on the Brooklyn Dodgers and was a 20-game winner in 1953 when he struck out a then-record 14 in the World Series, died. He was 97.

Erksine died at Community Hospital Anderson in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana, according to Michele Hockwalt, the hospital’s marketing and communication manager.


Among the last survivors from the celebrated Brooklyn teams of the 1950s, Erskine spent his entire major league career with the Dodgers from 1948-59, helping them win five National League pennants.

The right-hander had a career record of 122-78 and an ERA of 4.00, with 981 strikeouts.

Erskine had his best season in 1953, when he went 20-6 to lead the National League. He won Game 3 of the World Series, beating the Yankees 3-2 at Ebbets Field. He struck out 14, retiring the side in the ninth, for a record that stood until Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax got 15 in 1963. The Dodgers went on to lose in six games as the Yankees won their fifth consecutive championship.

Erskine was an All-Star in 1954, when he won 18 games.

He appeared in five World Series, with the Dodgers finally beating the Yankees in 1955 for their only championship in Brooklyn. He gave up a home run to Gil McDougald in the first inning of Game 4 and left after 3 2/3 innings. The Dodgers went on to win 8-5.

Erskine’s death leaves the 88-year-old Koufax as the lone surviving Dodgers player from the 1955 World Series team.


FRITZ PETERSON, the New York Yankees’ pitcher who famously swapped wives and families with teammate Mike Kekich in 1973, has died. He was 81.

Peterson died of lung cancer at his home in Winona, Minnesota, on Oct. 19, according to death records from the Winona County Vital Records Department. His body was cremated.

News of his death began to emerge Friday with an announcement by Northern Illinois, his alma mater, which erroneously said he was 82.

Peterson disclosed in a Facebook post in July 2018 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease several months earlier. He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had prostate cancer twice.

RANGERS: Jack Leiter, the 23-year-old son of former major league pitcher Al Leiter, is to make his major league debut for the Texas Rangers against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

Texas said it intended to select the contract of Leiter from Triple-A Round Rock, where he is 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance this season.


Taken second overall in the 2021 amateur draft from Vanderbilt, Leiter has pitched 14 1/3 innings this season with 25 strikeouts and three walks. He struck out 10 over six innings against Oklahoma City last Friday, allowing three runs and six hits.

BREWERS: Outfielder Christian Yelich has gone on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain..

Yelich hasn’t played since leaving in the second inning of an 11-1 victory at Baltimore on Friday due to lower back discomfort.


TIGERS 4, RANGERS 2: Gio Urshela had an RBI single and Matt Vierling scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to put Detroit ahead, and the Tigers’ pitchers continued their solid play to beat visiting Texas.

Andrew Chafin (1-0) worked 1 1/3 hitless innings with three strikeouts. Jason Foley retired pinch-hitter Adolis Garcia with two on in the ninth for his fifth save of the season.


ORIOLES 11, TWINS 3: Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Ryan O’Hearn homered, Grayson Rodriguez pitched six solid innings and Baltimore trounced visiting Minnesota.

PHILLIES 5, ROCKIES 0: Ranger Suárez pitched a seven-hitter, Bryce Harper homered and Philadelphia beat visiting Colorado.

METS 3, PIRATES 1: Jose Hernandez balked home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, Jeff McNeil added an RBI double and New York beat visiting Pittsburgh.

MARLINS 6, GIANTS 3: Ryan Weathers struck out a career-high 10 before departing because of cramps in his left hand, and Miami beat visiting San Francisco.

Weathers (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. The left-hander warmed up for the seventh, but was replaced by Burch Smith.

Luis Arraez had two hits and two RBI for the Marlins, who improved to 4-14.


YANKEES 5, BLUE JAYS 4: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached base four times and had two RBI, Yusei Kikuchi won for the first time this season and Toronto beat visiting New York, handing New York its third consecutive loss.

Bo Bichette hit an RBI single and Justin Turner added a sacrifice fly as the Blue Jays became the first opponent to win a series against the Yankees this year. New York had won its first five series for the third time in franchise history, matching its starts of 1926 and 2010.

RAYS 7, ANGELS 6: Amed Rosario drove in the winning run with an infield single and Tampa Bay scored twice in the 13th inning to complete a late comeback and beat visiting Los Angeles.

PADRES 6, BREWERS 3: Dylan Cease pitched six strong innings, Ha-Seong Kim hit a three-run homer and San Diego won at Milwaukee.

Fernando Tatis Jr. had three hits and scored twice as the Padres handed the Brewers their first series loss of the season.

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