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Whitey Herzog acquitted on charges of intentional tanking

May 18, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Whitey Herzog

This morning we linked a story in which the reporter paraphrased — but did not directly quote — Whitey Herzog as saying that he tanked games as manager of the Cardinals when his team was already out of the playoff race for purposes of improving draft position.

Quite the claim! But is it true?

The Common Man is on the case, and by analyzing Herzog’s late season moves in non-contending seasons with the Cardinals, he finds there to be no evidence of Herzog tanking games whatsoever.

It’s a good, thorough analysis of it all, so it’s well worth your time.

  1. Old Gator - May 18, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Oh, I just love the American Tabloid Legal System. If only kangaroos could read….

  2. paperlions - May 18, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    History revision by an old dude…who would have thunk it?

    Every single former player/manager that goes into broadcasting makes shit up while on the air. All things that are now verifiable by data on actual events, and every one of them has been busted for fabrication…many can’t get through a single broadcast without creating at least one fake story.

    • petey1999 - May 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      Well, it IS meant to be entertainment, after all.

  3. jdillydawg - May 18, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Why would it have been a bad thing if he intentionally had his team play poorly so he could get a better draft pick? If you think about it, in a situation where your team has no hope for the playoffs, the most competitive you can be is at the draft. Sure, you could spoil a team’s hopes maybe, but what good will that do you next season?

    This is a pretty good philosophical debate. Assume Woody did it. Was he quitting on the current season, or just getting a jump on next season? If you take the latter approach, the guy looks like a pretty good strategist. And it could be argued that American’s focus on short term gain is why some teams don’t better over the long run. Parallels could certainly be drawn to Wall St. where companies live and die by the quarter.

    As fans, we all sit in our armchairs and say doing something like this is horrible, but you’d have to think that the majority of people secretly applaud it. Because if we really abhorred this kind of behavior, would the campaign “Suck for Luck” ever have gotten so popular?

    • Jay Seaver - May 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      Well, the folks at the ballpark paid money with some expectation of seeing a competitive ballgame, as did the TV and radio stations who paid for broadcast rights. Even if you don’t have a very good team, you still owe them your best.

      • jdillydawg - May 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        I would love to agree with that, but Colts fans wanted anything BUT a good game at the end of last season. The only “touchdown” they wanted to see was Andrew Luck.

        And if your team wins the World Series next year, wouldn’t sitting through a few dismal games be worth it?

        In many respects, the Dodgers aren’t much different. Things had to get really, really bad before someone finally stepped in. People didn’t go to see them win last year, they went because they could get $4 tickets behind the dugout. This year they are killing it. It was SO worth the wait to have someone like Magic and a team of investors take them over.

  4. rje49 - May 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    In baseball, it doesn’t seem like it would make a lot of difference if you picked say, 6th rather than 8th, in the draft. Maybe if you had a shot at the top pick, whom the media declared a sure future hall-of-famer.
    Nope, I wouldn’t believe this for a minute, no matter who the manager was.

    • brewcitybummer - May 19, 2012 at 2:32 AM

      Did you use 6 and 8 on purpose? In last years draft there were 7 players of number one overall caliber. In this years draft there are zero. I think it would have been worth it last year to tank your way into the number 7 spot considering Archie Bradley sounds like the second coming of Roger Clemens.

  5. stuckonwords - May 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    While acknowledging that it was a paraphrase and not a direct quote, the reporter is still claiming that it’s what Whitey himself said. It seems to me that “making stuff up” and confessing to something are two entirely different things. If Whitey himself said he did it, what other “proof” matters? He says he did it and we’re going to “prove” he didn’t? We’re “acquitting” him of his own confession? That makes no sense to me.

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