As the lucky readers of former Cards/Royals manager Whitey Herzog’s tome “You’re Missing A Great Game” can attest, the White Rat has no shortage of opinions. From Gordon Engelhardt and the Evansville Courier-Press :
When he became the Cardinals’ manager in 1980, Herzog (above) noted they hadn’t been to the World Series in 12 years. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series in 1982, but haven’t won one since.
“That was kind of a blue-collar team,” Herzog said of the ’82 champions. “We hit only 67 home runs (a major league-low) and people enjoyed the baserunning. Of course, the game is not like that anymore. About 80 percent of the games are won with home runs.”
Herzog, who is beginning to show his 73 years, is sad this season will be the Cardinals’ last in Busch Stadium.
“The people of St. Louis don’t really want a new stadium,” he said, referring to the owners’ insistence on shoving a new ballpark down their collective throats. “In my personal opinion, Busch Stadium is still a beautiful place. “It’s progress. Whether we really need a new stadium, I don’t know. The team draws from a good 200-mile radius east, west, north and south of St. Louis. I’m sure a lot of people will come to see Busch Stadium for the last time.”
“There were so many great players there,” said Benes, an Evansville native who brought Herzog to the Night of Memories. “But that’s the way things are. The new stadium will be more fan-friendly and there will be more amenities. Somebody asked me if I could take anything from Busch Stadium, obviously I would say the pitching rubber. The fans were just unbelievable. They made my time there so enjoyable.”
The cloud of steroid use hovering over baseball has been anything but enjoyable. However, it was alleviated somewhat by the tougher policy implemented in January. Herzog said Barry Bonds’ connection to steroids will put a black mark on his 73-home run season of 2001 and his pursuit of Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755. Bonds has 703.
“It’s very tarnished when he admitted taking something,” Herzog said. “He thought it was arthritis medicine – c’mon. Anytime a guy who averaged (38.9) home runs for seven years and then hits 73, there’s something (amiss). His head size went from 7½ to 8½. Andy Van Slyke said, ‘I exercise all the time, but never found any exercise for head growth.’ “