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Herzog said he sometimes managed to finish third on purpose, not second place, as a way to improve draft-day positioning the next season.
Did Whitey just admit to throwing games?
That's the first thing I thought. I honestly don't see how this coudl be interpreted any other way, assuming Whitey isn't senile.
But yeah, if true, it's an admission that, had it been made two years earlier, should have resulted in his permanent ban from the game (and, more important, Cooperstown).
Again, he might have said it, but it's hard to see from the results that he actually did it.
I think he's just full of it but if you want to be suspicious, 1988 is the year to look at. The Cards finished 5th, one game behind the Cubs. They lost the last 3 of the year, granted to the Mets.
I don't think he's necessarily senile. I think he's frequently full of #### in a Sheffieldian kind of way.
To the extent there's anything in what he's saying, he probably means it more along the lines of "once you're out of it, you're more likely to play the kids, give your vets some rest, not push the pitchers, etc. because there's less incentive to win."
This is also what I assumed he meant.
I think this pretty well describes Herzog. A literal reading of his book, You're Missing a Great Game, leads one to conclude:
1) None of Herzog's failures were his fault;
2) All of Herzog's defeats were due to his opponents either cheating or exploiting an unfair advantage.
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