Hall hoopla keeping Herzog from fishing hole
Whitey Herzog could do without the lead-up to Hall of Fame induction, thank you. All the interviews and public appearances are cutting into his fishing time.
The 78-year-old Herzog will be inducted on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with Andre Dawson and umpire Doug Harvey. Then, he hopes he gets his life back.
Herzog said on a conference call Friday that although he knows he should be excited, the demands on his time have left him a bit cranky. He misses the routine of fishing every day.
''Everybody wants a piece of you. I think I've done more interviews than I ever did in 18 years of managing,'' Herzog said. ''I like to go fishing every morning and do the things I like to do, but it's kind of changed a little bit.''
So, he's anticipating the return to a more laid-back life at his home in suburban St. Louis.
''I'm elated to be elected to Cooperstown and I'm looking forward to the 25th, not only being a member but being able to live a little bit more normal life,'' Herzog said.
Herzog managed four teams over 18 seasons, gaining his greatest notoriety in 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Among his regrets: He never got the chance to work for former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died earlier this week of a heart attack at age 80.
''I admired him,'' Herzog said. ''Of course, he wanted to win. I wish I would have gotten to manage for him.''
Herzog said that when he won division titles in the 1970s with the Kansas City Royals, he'd get a congratulatory telegram from the Yankees owner.
''He was a great owner. He wanted to be the boss,'' Herzog said. ''The big thing about George Steinbrenner, he wanted to win. And that's basically why I would have liked to work for him.''
Hall of Fame recognition comes 20 years after Herzog managed his last game in 1990. He managed 18 seasons before resigning midway through the 1990 season, and said if he'd stuck around another decade he'd have made it into the Hall of Fame sooner.
Herzog won six division titles, three pennants and the 1982 World Series.
Herzog is being inducted along with Andre Dawson and umpire Doug Harvey, both of whom also had long waits. Dawson retired in 1996 and Harvey retired in 1992.
Dawson said the attention he's received the last few months has been eye-opening. He's bringing a ''very large'' contingent of family and friends to Cooperstown and said the days leading up to the induction ceremony have been clicking past rapidly.
''I've just been trying to make sure I'm in control of my emotions,'' Dawson said. ''I was good enough, I had the tools and the talent and now I have another challenge, and that's basically how I'm going to react to this.''