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Phase II, Election X

Whitey Herzog Book

Welcome HoME, Whitey!

I remember feeling tense when we neared the end of the player’s wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric. Eric and I debated the relative merits of lots of players, debates that sometimes became a little heated. The last few players on whom we agreed represented compromises on both of our parts. Would we over-fill a particular position or a particular era? Would we add a couple of extra pitchers or a couple of extra hitters? And how could we justify inducting some flawed candidates like Jose Cruz, Chuck Finley, Sal Bando, and Tony Phillips who receive very little support even in the SABR-friendly corners of the Internet? Yeah, it was tense.

I was naïve to think inducting managers would be any different. Our initial eleven were pretty easy, just like our first 110 or so players. As Frank Selee, Al Lopez, Bill McKechnie got in too, I was reminded that those guys were really only as hard to include as Juan Marichal, Ernie Banks, and Paul Molitor. In other words, those calls weren’t so hard either. And frankly, up until this point, getting 20 of 22 managers into the HoME, we haven’t had much trouble. For pitchers, that’s the level I have for Kevin Appier, Sandy Koufax, and Bucky Walters. For hitters, it’s Max Carey, Reggie Smith, and Billy Herman. The fact that managers seemed easy enough for a while made me think I was right. Managers would be easier.

Not so fast. This is where it’s supposed to get tough. The picture above indicates that we’ve made a choice this week. But it wasn’t easy. It’s incredibly close right now. And that’s why we have no obituaries to share today. Narrowing has become arduous.

Let’s look at our first 21, and then we’ll look to see who we’re still considering for our final spot.

Walter Alston      Whitey Herzog      Bill McKechnie
Sparky Anderson    Miller Huggins     Frank Selee
Cap Anson          Tony La Russa      Billy Southworth
Fred Clarke        Al Lopez           Casey Stengel
Bobby Cox          Connie Mack        Joe Torre
Leo Durocher       Joe McCarthy       Earl Weaver
Ned Hanlon         John McGraw        Dick Williams

And for the final spot:

                                                          G>	WS    Flags
                  Yrs     From       W      L       %   .500    Won   Won    Teams
Frank Chance	   11	1905-1923    946    648	  .593	 298     2     4       3
Tommy Lasorda	   21	1976-1996   1599   1439	  .526	 160	 2     4       1
Billy Martin	   16	1969-1988   1253   1013	  .553	 240	 1     2       5
Pat Moran           9   1915-1923    323    257   .557    66     1     2       2
Harry Wright	   23	1871-1893   1225    885	  .581	 340	 0     6       4

Hall of Miller and Eric

Whitey Herzog managed four teams, the Rangers, Angels, Royals, and Cardinals, running a team each year from 1973-1990. He did a wonderful job managing based on the talent he had. Or maybe he had the talent he did because of the way he liked to play? Whatever the case, Whiteyball probably began in 1976 even though the term wasn’t coined until six years later. Whitey’s 1976 Royals went to the ALCS for the first of three straight years with nobody hitting more than Amos Otis’ 18 homers and only one other hitting more than eight. But he did see seven guys steal at least 20 bases. He brought the same type of thought-process to St. Louis when he took over the Cardinals in 1981. While there, he won three NL Pennants and the 1982 World Series. That 1982 club was pure Whiteyball. Double figure homers from only two guys, and double figure steals from seven cemented Whitey’s legacy as a smart and scrappy skipper who did whatever he could to win. And win he did, 1281 games at a .532 rate over his 18 seasons.

One last guy. Will it be Chance, Lasorda, Martin, Moran, or Wright. Next week, all will be revealed.




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