Opinion

Former Royals and Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog holds court before game

Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, who managed the Royals and Cardinals, waved to the crowd at Kauffman Stadium before Friday’s game.
Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, who managed the Royals and Cardinals, waved to the crowd at Kauffman Stadium before Friday’s game. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Whitey Herzog didn’t want to talk about the call, and nobody in Kansas City does either.

You know the call by Don Denkinger, in the ninth inning of the sixth game of the 1985 World Series. Jorge Orta’s slow roller to the Cards’ Jack Clark at first, Clark tosses to Todd Worrell covering the bag and the throw appears to beat Orta.

Safe was the call in a time before instant replay. The Royals, down one, scored two runs, forced a seventh game and won the series.

Herzog, a guest of the Royals for Friday’s I-70 Series opener at Kauffman Stadium, held court before the game and naturally the call was a topic. Herzog, who managed the Royals from 1975 to 1979 before leading the Cardinals to three National League pennants and the 1982 World Series title in 11 years in St. Louis, said the Cards’ lack of offense tends to be overlooked.

The Cardinals scored 13 runs in seven games.

“We self-destructed after the call, but (13) runs in seven games ain’t going to win you many World Series,” Herzog said. “I don’t want to harp on the call because it sounds like sour grapes.”

Herzog, who accompanied third-base coach Mike Jirschele in taking out the lineup card, offered plenty of praise for the Royals.

“I wished I had your bullpen when I managed,” Herzog said. “It’s one of the greatest bullpens I’ve ever seen. You better beat the Royals in six innings or you won’t beat the Royals.

It’s just amazing when you watched them last year, last in home runs … and you look this year, everybody in the lineup is hitting .300.”

Former Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog talked about his time managing in Kansas City and St. Louis as the two teams meet in inter-league play over the weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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