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You're Missin' a Great Game Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2000

4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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"The Only Rule Is It Has To Work"
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Herzog didn't earn his nickname as baseball's White Rat simply because of his hair color. Former manager of the Royals, Angels, and Cards, Herzog is one of baseball's great tacticians and blue-collar philosophers. He's tenacious and volatile; when the game's on the line, he's never held back, all of which is good news for the reader. For the fan, the color is less rosy. From Herzog's knowledgeable vantage point, baseball's integrity, despite a marvelous '98 season, is very much on the line these days, in danger of striking itself out as it loses touch with its fundamentals. Power is in, and subtlety's out. Singles hitters swing for the fences. Finesse, like bunting, is on the verge of extinction. Small-market teams can't compete. Free agency destroys loyalty. The wild-card, six divisions, and the extended playoffs undercut the pennant races. The game is in chaos.

Naturally, all of that--and more--has the Rat looking back at the good old days, gnawing over what worked; he's not afraid to show his teeth. His passionate screed raises questions, chews on problems, and spits out interesting solutions in a colloquial breeze that blows air more fresh than hot. Circling the bases of this personal-insider's journey, he examines why his baseball heroes--Casey Stengel, Ted Williams, Tom Seaver, and Ozzie Smith, for starters--are just that, and why the game needs more of them. "Baseball itself is a little nearsighted right now," he complains, "and there ain't any harm in riding it some. Maybe we can be the bench jockeys." Why not? Herzog's certainly shown a knack for bringing home winners from that position before, and the fun of Missin' is the ease with which it invites us all to join him for the ride. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Herzog hits a home run...sheer fun to read." -- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"If, in the flood of baseball books coming out this spring, you don't read Herzog's, you're missin' a great book." -- Chicago Tribune

"The gossip alone makes the book a must." -- The Kansas City Star

Baseball Rants And Raves from "one of the greatest minds ever involved in the National Pastime." -- Chicago Daily Herald

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425174751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425174753
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,852,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Giesen on January 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whitey Herzog's book absolutely savaged contemporary baseball. His roadmap for constructing the 1982 Cardinals was a path all too forgotten. Just ask whoever signs Texas Ranger Alex Rodriguez's $250.0 million paycheck.
Whitey's essential theme is that wining baseball begins with complementary chemistry, good defense and the ability to move over and ultimately drive home a run in a close game. All feed into the basic premise that a good quality pitching staff, managed well ensures pennants will fly.
Some of the stories are priceless. Trading Ted Simmons; dealing with Gary Templeton; and, understanding Joaquin Andujar are "geez, I can't put this down" stories. Don't read too fast -- the "Pete Rose moment" in this book is priceless.
The most compelling read, however, is how Whitey destroys the concept of statistics for statistical purposes. Winning baseball and certain good statistical performance from key players, notably home runs, do not always correlate -- a theme that runs through this book over and over again.
While this book should be the bible for gerenal managers and others constructing baseball teams, it gets occasionally carried away in excessive collequialisms. Whitey at times forgets substance is more important than style.
But the style excesses are far overwhelmed by the substance that Whitey offers into the business of baseball. It's a must read, especially if you're a Cub fan trying to understand why your team hasn't won a World Series in nearly a century.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What keeps this from being a thoroughly splendid read are the frequent errors. In a reference to football, it has Bud Grant losing three Super Bowls. The actual number is four. It claims G. Templeton is the only player to get 100 hits from each side of the plate in a season. Yet Willie Wilson (one of Herzog's prize pupils) did the same. It has Lou Brock's highest base stealing total for a year at 114, when the real number is 118. And in the craziest of them all, Herzog has St. Louis leading KC 2-1 going into the ninth inning of Game 6 in 1985. It was 1-0; 2-1 was the final score. The Denkinger call is one of the defining moments of Herzog's career and the facts are still wrong!
However, IF one can get past the false information, this is a quick, insightful read. True, Herzog inevitably comes out looking good in his dealings with owners and players. But the main focus of this book is on what's wrong with baseball.
While baseball types have been complaining about the "modern game" since the 1850s, Herzog cites specific examples as to why the game today is hurting. From agents to the gutting of the scouting system to millionaires throwing to the wrong cutoff man, Herzog tells us what's wrong with baseball and how to fix it.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not a coincidence that the KC Royals, St Louis Cards, and the Anaheim Angels all got into the world series pretty much after Whitey got involved. If you know baseball and what really matters, you know Whitey's ideas will work. It's a shame the Royals owner Ewing Kauffman (and mainly Muriel K) couldn't accept baseball greatness over pride and prestige. For the reviewer who thinks there are sour grapes....what are you talkin about? You must not be from KC. The guy wins head over shoulders more than any manager in KC and then when Whitey suggests how to improve a division winner even better, the owner and Joe Burke refuse to help him and make Whitey manage with one arm tied behind his back and then come in second place by 3 games, then fire him!?! Ewing and his old lady didn't really know what they had. They wanted some shoe kissing choir boy and you see what that got them. They got the profits from a team that Whitey built and nurtured. I'm glad history shows the truth on this. This is a great book by a true baseball intellect. Whitey cuts through the BS and brings it home right down the middle with his takes on the money game, rules changes, owner idiocy, smart owners, player agents, player critiq and even fishing. I heard it best from a Frank White interview, when he said Whitey was a player's manager and didn't get in the way of players but let them do their stuff, which contributed to winning more than anything else. This book tells how the key is scouting and once that's done, they do the rest if they have the fundamentals down. Whitey was a master at not only finding talent but bringing out the best in it all the time. That's kinda like a gardner taking care of his garden and nurturing it. Get the book. You won't find too many with so much straight talk about the truth of baseball.Read more ›
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By A Customer on May 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book has a few weird ideas (World Series stadium and bingo parlor?; teaching the spitball to upgrade the Rockies' pitching staff?) and several factual/numerical errors. Part of the time it reads like an advertisement for Whitey, Inc. He also plays the "should've" game when he seems to believe that his teams should have won two or three additional World Series. But, you expect this sort of opinionation in a clearly subjective book.
I have to agree with just about everything else Herzog says. His thesis is that the wild expansion of revenues available to SOME baseball teams is not only wrecking competitive balance, but is also changing the way the game is played, resulting in a sloppy style of baseball that revolves around the home run. For example, last year's Cardinal team, led by Mark McGwire, set a new National League home run record, but finished with only an 84-78 record! In contrast, look at the style of play in the NFL, which is more varied and complex than ever, due in part to the fact that wealthy franchises can't outspend the rest of the league and bowl teams over with talent alone. I'm certainly not a total fan of NFL-style socialism, but baseball's distribution of revenues is way too skewed in favor of certain teams. Herzog's remedies may or may not work, but, if changes aren't made, lets see what happens when lockout/strike time rolls around again. Or, maybe we'll see a franchise or two go belly-up.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "timely". While most baseball people are still basking in the glory of last year's "Greatest Season Ever", Whitey plays the role of the canary in the coal mine as he delves into baseball's deeply troubled underpinnings. On the bright side.
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