How Whiteyball was a success

It’s not only been 40 years since the 1967 World Series but also 35 years since the 1982 World Series. And although it was already started before, 1982 was the feature presentation of one of the most innovative styles of baseball in history.

That style was known as Whiteyball.

Led by Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, Whiteyball substituted raw power for speed and the ability to get on base. While the idea was popularized when Herzog managed the Kansas City Royals, it was his tenure with the Cardinals where it really became common knowledge.

Thanks to Whiteyball, the Cardinals went to three World Series in 10 years, winning the 1982 series against the Brewers, while falling in seven games to both the Royals and Twins in ‘85 and ‘87, respectively.

So, what exactly made it a success?

Herzog attributed the success of Whiteyball to many things, but one of the most important factors was Busch Stadium II. Back then, the Cardinals played their home games on AstroTurf, which caused balls that hit the ground to make erratic bounces. Busch Stadium II was also a stadium that didn’t allow the long ball, so typically, only one or two power hitters, such as Jack Clark or Keith Hernandez, would be in the lineup.

Meanwhile, players like Willie McGee, Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith and Lonnie Smith, among others, were utilized in a way in which their speed and high on-base percentages would be their opponent's worst nightmare. While they would finish last in the league in home runs many times, they would lead the league in stolen bases.

Also, the solid pitching of stars like Bruce Sutter, Joaquin Andujar, and John Stuper cannot be forgotten.

All of the players meshed together well enough to be one of the most feared teams in baseball.

This style of play lasted until Herzog left the Cardinals in 1990.

The team's legacy lasted into the 21st century, as the 2014 Kansas City Royals used the style to make it to their first World Series since 1985.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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