State Stories


New Athens' "Whitey" Herzog in 1948 IHSA Baseball State Finals

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The 1948 New Athens High School baseball team that went on to place second in the state featured a future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer on its roster.

"Whitey" Herzog and his brother Herman were both members of the Yellow Jackets squad that topped Chicago Kelly (6-0) in the 1948 quarterfinals and Peoria Spalding (6-4) in the semifinals, before falling to Granite City 4-1 in the state championship.

Whitey Herzog, who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2010 based in part on leading the St. Louis Cardinals to three World Series appearances, including a title in 1982, is identified as Relly in the photo above. Relly was his nickname at the time based on his birth name of Dorrel (full name is Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog).

According to the state championship box score printed in the 1948-49 IHSA newsletter, Illinois Interscholastic, Relly Herzog started in centerfield and hit third in the batting order. He was 0-for-4 in the title game and committed one error. A game recap notes that in the seventh inning (9 inning games were played in 1948), he came to the plate with two runners on and hit a hard liner that was caught by the Granite City third basemen, who tagged Herman Herzog out for a double play.

The unnamed author of the story was clearly impressed with the New Athens fanbase based on the writings below that appeared in Illinois Interscholastic:

Whitey Herzog played eight seasons in the majors for the Washington Senators (1956–1958), Kansas City Athletics (1958–1960), Baltimore Orioles (1961–1962) and Detroit Tigers (1963), before breaking in as a manager with the Texas Rangers in 1973. He managed the Texas Rangers (1973), California Angels (1974), Kansas City Royals (1975–1979) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980–1990) during his career, and went on to serve as a General Manager for the Cardinals and Angels.

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