Cardinals And Baseball Mourn Passing of Dorrel “Whitey” Herzog At Age Of 92




Cardinals News

ST. LOUIS, MO., April 16, 2024 – The St. Louis Cardinals organization, the St. Louis community and baseball fans everywhere were saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Dorrel Norman Elvert “Whitey” Herzog at the age of 92.   Herzog, who 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, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.  Herzog led his Cardinals teams to three (1982, 1985 & 1987) World Series, including a World Series title in 1982, and he ranks 3rd on the franchise’s all-time managerial wins list with 822.

“On behalf of the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization, I would like to offer our condolences to the family and many friends of Whitey Herzog,” said Cardinals’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr.  “Whitey and his teams played a big part in changing the direction of the Cardinals franchise in the early 1980s with an exciting style of play that would become known as “Whitey Ball” throughout baseball.  Whitey loved the Cardinals, their fans, and St. Louis.  He will be sorely missed.”

The Herzog family issued the following statement:

“Whitey spent his last few days surrounded by his family.  We have so appreciated all of the prayers and support from friends who knew he was very ill.  Although it is hard for us to say goodbye, his peaceful passing was a blessing for him.”

A native of New Athens, Ill., in the Metro East area of St. Louis, Herzog managed the Cardinals from 1980 to 1990. He ranks third in franchise history with 822 victories – trailing only Tony La Russa (1,408) and Red Schoendienst (1,041) – and his teams won three National League pennants and the 1982 World Series.

Herzog took over the Redbirds on June 9, 1980 and two months later, Herzog turned over his on-field managerial duties to become general manager and have more direct involvement in player personnel. He assumed the dual role of field manager and general manager in October that year.

At the winter meetings that December, Herzog began to transform the Cardinals with three blockbuster trades involving 21 players. He envisioned a team built on speed and defense in spacious Busch Stadium.

St. Louis posted the best record in the N.L. in 1981 but finished second in the East Division in both halves of the strike-interrupted season and did not make the playoffs. Herzog relinquished his general manager duties on Opening Day of the 1982 season and the Cardinals went on to win the World Series with a thrilling seven-game victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. It marked the franchise’s first championship in 15 years.

Two more pennants followed in 1985 and 1987. Meanwhile, fans flocked to Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals’ entertaining style of play that became known as “Whitey Ball.” In Herzog’s eight full seasons as skipper, St. Louis drew at least 2.4 million spectators annually while topping the three million plateau for the first two times in club annals (1987 and 1989). Herzog, who valued his sterling relationship with owner August Busch, Jr., resigned July 5, 1990, less than a year after Busch died, and did not manage again.

Before coming to St. Louis, Herzog managed the Texas Rangers (1973), California Angels (1974 on an interim basis) and Kansas City Royals (1975-79). The Royals won three straight American League West Division titles from 1976 to 1978 but fell to the New York Yankees in the League Championship Series all three times.

Herzog’s lifetime managerial record was 1,281-1,125, a .532 winning percentage. His win total ranks 39th on baseball’s all-time list.  He was voted the 1982 Major League Manager of the Year award and the 1985 N.L. Manager of the Year. The charismatic “White Rat” also spent time as a big league coach, farm system director and scout, and briefly served as general manager of the Angels in 1993 and 1994.

Primarily an outfielder during an eight-year big-league playing career, Herzog batted .257 with 25 home runs and 172 RBI for the Washington Senators (1956-58), Kansas City Athletics (1958-60), Baltimore Orioles (1961-62) and Detroit Tigers (1963).

As a minor leaguer with the McAlester (Okla.) Rockets in 1949, Herzog was christened with the name “Whitey” by sportscaster Bill Speith for his light-colored hair.

Herzog was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010 by the Veterans Committee. Two days before the enshrinement ceremonies July 25, Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. announced that Herzog’s number 24 would be retired by the organization. Herzog wore No. 3 in 1980, but infielder Ken Oberkfell gave up No. 24 after the season and Herzog took it. Herzog was voted the manager on the All-Busch Stadium II team in 2005 and was an inaugural member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.

Herzog was the 2nd oldest living National Baseball Hall of Famer.  Willie Mays, also 92, was born in May of 1931, six months prior to Whitey (November 9, 1931).

The Herzog family is planning a private celebration of life service after a period of grieving, and ask that any donations please be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children.


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