The Red Jacket Club is dwindling with St. Louis Cardinals franchise icons

Cardinals Nation has lost one of their best in Whitey Herzog. Now the organization moves forward with continuing the legacy of their Hall of Fame predecessors.
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals / Jeff Curry/GettyImages

Former Cardinals General Manager, team manager, and 1982 World Series champion Whitey Herzog has passed away at the age of 92. The historic franchise that is the St. Louis Cardinals has had many prolific names wear the Birds on the Bat, and none compare to what we know as Whiteyball. The city of St. Louis, the Cardinals organization, and Major League Baseball have lost one of the game's greatest icons.

Herzog changed the style of play during the 1980s, as he introduced a fast-paced, small-ball approach that led to one of the most dominated runs in the Cardinals team history. He managed talents like Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Vince Coleman, Keith Hernandez, Jack Clark, Bob Forsch, and Joaquin Andujar. Whiteyball witnessed three World Series appearances that were filled with October drama and lasting memories that are at the core of many Cardinals fans to this day. Herzog is one of the most beloved figures amongst Cardinals Nation.

Many of the Cardinals greats have since passed on, leaving the organization in unfamiliar territory. The Cardinal Tradition is to bring in the Red Jacket members to honor the legacy of the franchise and to lead the players and fans to future continued success. Every opening day, these icons are showcased at Busch Stadium and you can sense the rich history just in their presence of being there. Every other MLB organization desires to have the legacy provided by the alumni who represent their team and city like the Cardinals Red Jackets do.

But in recent memory, we have seen many legendary figures pass on. Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon, Bruce Sutter, and now Whitey Herzog all have left us and created a void in the remaining core of the Cardinals Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame has many existing Red Jacket members who carry on the same traditions that these men did. But the impact they have had on the game and the city is hard to measure up against these fallen Cardinals legends.

The main figure that remains is Ozzie Smith. The Wizard of Oz has taken on a major role in the teams' media content and has become a voice within the organization. But he is the lasting member who can be regarded as an inner circle icon for MLB and the Cardinals. We will soon see new members joining Ozzie in the inner circle once Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols gain their jackets. It will be the passing of the torch, as a new generation of players and fans will now look to them being the staples of the organization's history. It seems wrong to do it without all of these men mentioned who have passed on, but time goes on and so does building tradition and legacy to move forward.