Former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog mending after fall, hospital stay

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 9:21 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Whitey Herzog is back on his feet after a fall left him hospitalized for more than three weeks.

Herzog participated in the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up over the weekend, signing autographs and greeting well-wishers. The 80-year-old manager who led the Cardinals to three National League pennants in the 1980s, including the 1982 World Series win, has recovered after falling at his suburban St. Louis home in September.

The accident happened as Herzog was putting away cushions from his pool after he had closed it for the season. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he struck his head and spent 23 days in intensive care after bleeding on his brain was discovered.

"On my fourth trip, I guess I got lightheaded and I fell," Herzog said. "I hit my left shoulder and my (left) cheek and then I bounced and hit my forehead."

A neighbor came to the rescue. Herzog was taken to St. Anthony's Medical Center.

"No sunshine. No fresh air. I was messed up with medicine," Herzog said. He said he was taking 24 pills every day, that he wasn't himself and that at one point he couldn't sleep for six days.

"I told Mary Lou (his wife) I'd go home and feed the goats," he recalled. "The next day the nurse would say, 'Did you feed the goats?' I said, 'I don't have any goats.'"

Still, Herzog said, he was lucky because despite bruising his brain in two places, doctors were able to stop the bleeding without drilling into his head.

"Once they drill through your brain, you don't know what they're going to come out with," he said.

The fall has led to one lifestyle change. Doctors asked about Herzog's drinking habits. He told them he generally had two scotches before dinner. He was told that the combination of diabetes medicine and the scotch probably was causing lightheadedness.

"I said, 'I can't give up the medicine, so I'll give up drinking,'" Herzog said. "So, all I've drank for four months is non-alcoholic beer. One a day. If it's cold, I'll drink it."

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