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My favorite baseball memory: Art Holliday

We're missing baseball as much as you. So instead, we're looking back at some of our favorite memories. First up, Art Holliday and a Whitey Herzog story for the ages
Credit: KSDK

At 5 On Your Side, we're missing baseball like the rest of St. Louis.

So while we're waiting for our national past time to return, let's share some stories of our favorite baseball memories.

First up... Anchor Art Holliday, who has quite a few to choose from.

My favorite baseball memory could have been Game 6, the David Freese game, or the time I met my childhood hero Bob Gibson in the Busch Stadium II press box.

Instead, it’s a story that involves Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, and it spans roughly 27 years.

In 1983, the year after Herzog electrified the town with Whiteyball, leading the Cardinals to a World Series victory, I suggested to my news managers that we do a profile of Herzog. The hook was convincing Herzog to wear a wireless microphone during a game and giving our cameraman unusual access.

Wireless mics are fairly commonplace now, but in 1983 it was pretty revolutionary for a local TV sports reporter to get that kind of cooperation from a pro sports team and their manager.

Fortunately, KSDK sports director Jay Randolph, who did play-by-play for the Cardinals, convinced Herzog to wear a microphone.

The three-part report included a lengthy interview with the "white rat", a masters class on leadership and the clubhouse psychology of managing superstars and bench players, all with different personalities.

There were two highlights from the game that showcased our wireless microphone: Whitey going to the mound to profanely chastise Joaquin Andujar, his struggling 20-game winner from the previous season; and the mid-game rally where Whitey was in the dugout strategizing.

Herzog, the field general, was several batters ahead of what was taking place on the field, telling players like Mike Ramsey and David Green what their role would be as the rally unfolded. As a reporter, I couldn’t have scripted the game any better for what ultimately became a three-part series that ran on consecutive 10 p.m. newscasts.

The series was well-received, including a handwritten note from my general manager who called it one of the best sports stories he’d ever seen.

Fast forward to 2010, when parts of my 1983 series were re-broadcast on a weekly Cardinals show that KSDK carried.

Apparently several people approached Whitey, telling him about my story, which he had never seen. His assistant called our newsroom to request a DVD and naturally we complied.

Several weeks later I got a phone call at my newsroom desk. It was Whitey Herzog, calling to say thank you. Herzog went on to explain that he watched my report with his grandsons. His grandchildren weren’t born during Herzog’s heyday, and he sounded emotional as he explained how much that meant to him.

He concluded the phone call by saying anytime I needed anything from him, all I had to do was ask. He was a man of his word.

When Stan Musial was about to get his Presidential Medal of Freedom, I hoped to get a soundbite from Herzog about the greatest Cardinal of them all. When Whitey said he was busy running errands, I didn’t think the interview was going to happen, but he said he would drop by the station for the interview.

How’s that for a baseball memory?

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