Whitey Herzog, Hall of Fame manager who led Cardinals to 1982 World Series title, dies at 92

Herzog was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010

Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog won three NL pennants and a World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Whitey Herzog, the Hall of Fame manager who guided the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title, has died. He was 92.

“Whitey spent his last few days surrounded by his family," the Herzog family said in a statement released by the Cardinals. "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."

“Whitey Herzog was one of the most accomplished managers of his generation and a consistent winner with both ‘I-70’ franchises," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "He made a significant impact on the St. Louis Cardinals as both a manager and a general manager, with the Kansas City Royals as a manager and with the New York Mets in player development. Whitey’s Cardinals’ teams reached the World Series three times in the 1980s, winning the championship in 1982, by leaning on an identity of speed and defense that resonated with baseball fans across the world.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Whitey’s family, his friends across the game and the fans of the Cardinals and the Royals.”

“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,” Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said. “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.”

Born Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, he was given the nickname "Whitey" by a MacAlester, Oklahoma, sportscaster due to his light blond hair. Before he was a manager, Herzog played for the Washington Senators, Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers over seven years.

The start of his post-playing days saw Herzog serve as a scout for the Athletics and then as a third-base coach and later director of player development for the Mets. He was part of the organization when the "Amazin' Mets" won the World Series in 1969.

'Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it'

After being passed over to replace Gil Hodges as Mets manager in 1972, Herzog moved on and took over as manager of the Texas Rangers. He was fired before season's end as the team accumulated 100 losses.

Herzog was hired in 1974 by the California Angels to coach first base and eventually took over as interim manager. One year later, he replaced Jack McKeon in the dugout as manager of the Royals, a role he held through 1979.

It was beginning in 1980 that Herzog found success as an MLB manager. He was hired by the Cardinals and adapted their playing style to the artificial turf at Busch Stadium. Speed on the base paths, quality fielding, timely hitting and reliable pitching became known as "Whiteyball," and it helped lead the franchise to a World Series title in 1982.

Herzog didn't just manage the Cardinals. He was also general manager from 1980 to '82 and helped acquire future Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith from the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals won two more National League pennants under Herzog — 1985 and 1987 — but fell in the World Series to the Royals and Minnesota Twins.

After a decade in charge, Herzog resigned as Cardinals manager on July 6, 1990, with a record of 822-728, a World Series title and three NL pennants in St. Louis.

"I came here in last place, and I leave here in last place. I left them right where I started," Herzog said after he resigned.

Herzog never managed again and finished with 1,281 careers wins with four teams. He won six division titles and was named NL Manager of the Year in 1985.

In 2009, Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame via the Veterans' Committee, and he was inducted in July 2010. That same year, the Cardinals retired his No. 24, which had previously been worn by pitcher Rick Ankiel.

Four years later, Herzog was part of an inaugural 22-person class for the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum.