A Look at the Managers in the Inaugural St. Louis Cardinals Hall-of-Fame Class

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Cardinals franchise has been lucky to have some excellent managers throughout its history. The inaugural Cardinals Hall of Fame class reflects this.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced that the franchise's Hall of Fame will get a new building and a new emphasis with the construction of the long-gestating Ballpark Village. Over the weekend at the organization's annual Winter Warmup, the club gave us an idea of what the rebooted Cardinals Hall of Fame, decoupled from the Bowling Hall of Fame, will be. The Cardinals announced their inaugural Hall-of-Fame class. The list of inductees included quite a few men who have served as Cardinals manager.

Manager

Years

Games

Wins

Losses

Win %

POST

NL

WS

Branch Rickey

1919-25

947

458

485

.486

0

0

0

Rogers Hornsby

1925-26

271

153

116

.569

1

1

1

Billy Southworth

1929, 40-45

981

680

346

.642

3

3

2

Frankie Frisch

1933-38

822

458

354

.564

1

1

1

Red Schoendienst

1965-76, 80, 90

1,999

1,041

955

.522

2

2

1

Ken Boyer

1978-80

357

166

190

.466

0

0

0

Whitey Herzog

1980-90

1,553

822

728

.530

3

3

1

Tony La Russa

1996-2011

2,591

1,408

1,182

.544

9

3

2

One of the fun things about looking at the managers on this list is that some of the men are being inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in spite of having managed the Cardinals at some point in time.

  • Branch Rickey, a very deserving inductee based on his success as a general manager, does not deserve much acclaim for the losing record Cardinals teams posted with him as their field manager.
  • Ken Boyer had his number retired primarily for his performance as a player wearing The Birds on the Bat as opposed to the Cards' lackluster performance with him as a St. Louis manager.
  • The exceptions to this rule are player-managers Rogers Hornsby and Frankie Frisch. The following charts show how the two men performed on the field while also managing the Redbirds.

ROGERS HORNSBY

Year

Age

PA

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

1925

29

605

39

.403

.489

.756

1.254

.353

.540

208

10.8

1926

30

604

11

.317

.388

.463

.851

.146

.395

128

4.6

Total

-

1209

50

.359

.438

.606

1.044

.247

.468

168

15.4

The Cardinals won their first World Series title in 1926. With Hornsby at the helm, the Redbirds defeated Babe Ruth and the Murderers' Row Yankees the year before New York earned that moniker. In a fun convergence of inaugural Cardinals Hall-of-Fame classmates, Rickey traded Hornsby to the New York Giants for Frankie Frisch. Before becoming player-manager, Frisch would win the 1931 NL MVP award while playing for the second world champion in franchise history. Two years later, the Redbirds named Frisch their manager. In 1934, he led the Gashouse Gang to the franchise's third World Series championship. Here were his numbers as a player while also carrying out the duties of manager.

FRANKIE FRISCH

Year

Age

PA

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

1933

35

646

4

.303

.358

.398

.757

.096

.353

114

2.9

1934

36

606

3

.305

.359

.398

.757

.093

.351

102

3.0

1935

37

402

1

.294

.356

.359

.714

.065

.336

93

1.6

1936

38

348

1

.274

.353

.317

.670

.043

.324

83

-0.1

1937

39

34

0

.219

.242

.281

.524

.063

.243

33

-0.1

Total

-

2036

9

.296

.355

.375

.730

.079

.343

100

7.2

The remaining men are those who have been inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame based on their accomplishments as managers and, in the case of Red Schoendienst, as a player (distinct from his playing career, which merits its own post and will get it). Billy Southworth, Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, and Tony La Russa are the four longest-tenured managers in franchise history. They also possess the four highest win totals.

  • Southworth managed the Cardinals during the first golden age of the franchise: the 1940s. He steered the Cardinals to three pennants and two World Series titles. Here are the Cardinals' win totals from 1940-45: 84, 97, 106, 105, 105, and 95. Those win totals would be impressive in a 162-game season, but Southworth's Redbirds won 106, 105, and 105 games while playing a schedule of just 156 or 157 games.Those clubs posted the highest winning percentages for a Cardinals team since 1887. Even the 105-win MV3 Cardinals of our lifetime did so with a winning percentage of "just" .648, compared to the .688 and .682 winning percentages of Southworth's Redbirds.
  • Red Schoendienst played on some of those Southworth teams as a second baseman. Schoendienst's big-league career spanned from 1945 to 1963. In 1965, the Cardinals hired him as manager. Red managed El Birdos to the 1967 World Series championship and came within a game of repeating the next year. Before the club hired Whitey Herzog in 1980, Schoendienst served as the interim manager. Then he stayed on as a coach. When Herzog resigned in 1990, Schoendienst again served as the interim manager for St. Louis.
  • Without Herzog, the Whiteyball philosophy never would've come to Busch Stadium. That means the Cardinals likely never would have traded for Ozzie Smith. And who knows if Willie McGee would've blossomed like he did under Herzog. Getting caught up in stealing bases while also playing good defense can cause one to overlook just how successful Herzog was with this formula during his time in St. Louis.
  • Tony La Russa is the longest-serving manager in franchise history. Overall, he managed the second-most MLB games in history behind only Connie Mack, who owned the team he managed. La Russa led a second golden age in Cardinals baseball. For over a decade, the Cardinals were competitive nearly every year. Between 2000 and 2011, the club made eight postseason appearances, won three pennants, and brought home two World Series titles. La Russa's accomplishments speak for themselves. He's perhaps the greatest manager in MLB history.

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