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Archive for Sunday, July 2, 2000

Wilson, Herzog join Royals’ shrine

July 2, 2000

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— Whitey Herzog, the winningest manager in Kansas City history, and former batting champion Willie Wilson were inducted to the Royals' Hall of Fame Saturday.

Wilson, an outfielder drafted in 1974, hit over .300 for four straight seasons starting in 1979 and stole more than 30 bases in 11 straight seasons.

Herzog managed the Royals to three straight American League West titles starting in 1976.

"It wasn't until 1976, Whitey Herzog's first full season as manager, that the Royals became champions," Royals owner David Glass said while making the introduction in a pregame ceremony.

"The 1976, '77, '78 AL west champion Royals were a reflection of Whitey's personality. They thrilled fans with their hard-nosed, aggressive style of play."

Herzog, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title after getting fired in Kansas City, said his biggest thrill in baseball was leading the Royals to the 1976 division championship.

"To be a successful manager," Herzog told the crowd, "you have to have a lot of help: A good organization, people who give you 100 percent.

"You have to have a wife who's behind you. You have to have your whole family behind you. But most of all, you have to have fans."

Wilson became only the second player in baseball history to get 100 hits from each side of the plate in 1980, and wound up with a league-leading 230 hits. He was the AL batting champion in 1982 with a .332 average.

"This is very wonderful for me," Wilson said. "I'm so honored and proud to be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame."

Wilson completed his 19-year career in 1994 with a .285 career average and 668 stolen bases. He was one of three outfielders selected by fans to the Royals' 25th anniversary team in 1993.

"For a long time, I didn't think I belonged here as a major league ballplayer. But with the support of the Royals and you fans, you made a dream come true," he said. "I've had some good times here, some bad times. But all in all, I wouldn't change a thing."

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