After legendary St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog passed away at the age of 92 on Tuesday, those that knew him started paying their respects.

One notable person is former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith, who played under Herzog from 1982-1990.

“He was always a step ahead, and that’s another thing that made him so special,” Smith told about Herzog. “I didn’t have a lot of days off, but on the days that I did, I’d watch and see how Whitey was a master manipulator.

“He would find situations he wanted and the situations he was looking for, and he was always able to get us in those situations and it gave us huge advantages. We knew late in games, if it was close, we had the edge because Whitey would get the game exactly where he wanted it.”

Smith continued with effusive praise for the manager that convinced him to leave the Padres and join the Cardinals, “He believed in me, and he told me if I came and played for the Cardinals, there was no reason that we couldn’t win it all,” said Smith, whose massive popularity in St. Louis could only be rivaled by Herzog’s. “He told me I was the missing piece to the puzzle, and any time you are shown that type of belief, it meant so much. He allowed me to play with no restrictions, and he allowed me to become what I became.”

Whitey Herzog was a Cardinals legend

Whitey Herzog throws out the ceremonial first pitch before game one of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium
© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Those who follow the game know that legendary Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog was one of the best to ever lead a ballclub. The Hall of Famer was one of the most innovative minds in the sport, popularizing a tactic called “Whiteyball” during his time in St. Louis.

After his playing career ended, Herzog had coaching and managerial stints with the Texas Rangers, California Angels and Kansas City Royals before landing with the Cardinals in 1980. From there, the rest is history.

Herzog won the 1982 World Series as the Cardinals' skipper and general manager in 1982. He also led the team to NL pennants in 1985 and 1987. This is when “Whiteyball” really took off and changed the game forever.

Since St. Louis didn't have much power in the lineup outside of Jack Clark, they compensated by abusing the base paths. The Cardinals stole 200 bases in 1982, increasing the total to a whopping 314 in 1985 behind Smith, Willie McGee, and Vince Coleman.

“I changed the whole concept of the way to play baseball because we couldn’t hit a home run and we could neutralize the power of the other team in our ballpark,” said Herzog via the Post-Dispatch. “So I kind of just went with speed, which is the one thing in baseball you can use on both sides of the ball. You can use it on offense and defense.”

This style of play captured the hearts of Cardinals fans, cementing Herzog as one of the team's all-time greats.