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Herzog, Wilson Join Royals Hall

February 17, 2000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Willie Wilson, the best leadoff hitter the Kansas City Royals have ever had, joined former manager Whitey Herzog on Wednesday as the newest inductees in the Royals Hall of Fame.

Both were selected on at least 75 percent of ballots by a panel of media representatives, former players and team officials.

Many had thought Herzog, the Royals’ manager from 1975-79, should have been named to the hall many years earlier. Herzog led the Royals to three straight AL West titles starting in 1976, but bitterness remained long after Herzog was fired.

``I kind of knew the circumstances, which I’d rather not go into,″ said Herzog, who later managed the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title.

Herzog took over as manager the same year Wilson came up from the minor leagues, and was a key part of his development into one of the finest switch hitters and base-stealers in the league.

``Going in with Whitey is a great honor because he was my first manager,″ said Wilson, a switch-hitting outfielder ``He gave me some tough times. But I think through his tough times I learned a lot about baseball. I learned to play the game hard and not take too many days off. It was fun.″

Wilson hit .285 during a 19-year career that ended in 1994. He batted over .300 from 1979-82 and stole more than 30 bases in 11 consecutive years, including a team-record 83 in 1979. He won the AL batting title with a .332 average in 1982 and led the league in triples five times.

Wilson said he would like to work for the Royals in some capacity.

``I would be willing to start anywhere,″ he said. ``I love Kansas City. It would be fun.″

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