Monday, September 17, 2007

The White Rat Speaks

Whitey Herzog, interviewed on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Cardinal's 1987 NL championship. As usual, Whitey is good for some fun:

Despite losing, he said, he enjoyed that World Series. "We didn't play with (Jack) Clark or (Terry) Pendleton, who were about 60 percent of our RBIs and our home runs," he said. "I'm not making excuses, because injuries are part of baseball. But God almighty, it was kind of embarrassing some of the nights the lineup we had to put out there."

Well, Clark and Pendleton were 27% of the RBIs and 50% of the team's home runs, but the point is well-taken. I'll admit, that even though I watched that entire World Series (age 14) I had completely forgotten that the Cards went into battle without Jack Clark and his 173 OPS+ that October, only to be replaced by the likes of Jim Lindeman and Dan Driessen. If it weren't for the air conditioning in the Metrodome and the absence of Jack Clark, methinks St. Louis would have won that sucker.

Herzog's voice grew louder. "Now, let me ask you something," he said. "Am I right, they're building a new stadium, but it's going to be an outdoor stadium?" That's right, Whitey. "Oh, jeez," he said. "I can remember playing those games in Bloomington (outside at Metropolitan Stadium). Gawd dang that place was cold, because that wind was predominant, came from the right-field corner to the left-field corner, and we were in that third-base dugout. That was something. "When I saw that they finally passed that thing to build a stadium, I was hoping they would build a nice, retractable roof stadium.

You and me both, Whitey. I'm guessing that the Brewers are going to make some dough in the coming years hosting early-season snowouts for the Twins.

"You know, I was talking to Red Schoendienst the other day, and he said they had
just had their 50th anniversary of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves," Herzog said. "Now, how many of those gol-darn guys are still living? Think about that! They all got to be 80 or more! When you think about that, that's something.

Until I read that I would have bet you $1000 that Red Schoendienst was no longer alive. Looking now I see that he's "only" 84, but I distinctly remember having a 1965 Topps Red Schoendienst card in which he looked no less than 60 years old.

Oh, and to answer Whitey's question, seven of the eight everyday starters from the 1957 Braves are still living (R.I.P Eddie Mathews and Bill Bruton), but four of the five starters and the relief ace have gone on to the great bullpen in the sky. Overall, the mortality rate for guys who played for the 1957 Braves is 44.7%. It's 100% for managers, with Fred Haney's death in 1977 really skewing that number.

"Now, you think about this 20th anniversary. How many of those guys do you think
will be around 30 years from now?"

At present all of the 1987 Cardinals are still alive. I'll start the bidding, however, at Bob Forsch and Doug DeCinces (both 57).

No comments: