Whitey Herzog, who managed St. Louis to the National League pennant in what was expected to be a rebuilding year, was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, beating Cincinnati's Pete Rose by one point.

Herzog received 11 first-place votes and 86 points in balloting by the BBWAA panel composed of two writers from each of the 12 league cities. Rose, who took the Reds to a second-place finish in the NL West as a player-manager, had 85 points and 10 first-place ballots.

Tom Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers, winner two years ago, finished third with 39 points including three first-place votes.

St. Louis lost the first two games of the playoffs to the Dodgers before winning four straight. In the World Series, the Cardinals were two outs away from the championship in the sixth game, but succumbed to a Kansas City comeback and lost the title.

Rose staged a season-long pursuit of Ty Cobb's all-time record of 4,191 hits, passing him in September. He has been given a three-year contract that will pay him $1 million a year and make him baseball's highest paid manager . . .

Now, Kansas City pitcher Bret Saberhagen, 21, will find out the value of his right arm.

"I had a one-year contract last year. It's up. I'll renegotiate this year," he said after receiving a minivan as Sport Magazine's Most Valuable Player in the World Series. " . . . There could be problems, but I'd like to think there won't be."

Saberhagen beat St. Louis twice -- 6-1 in Game 3 and 11-0 in Game 7 -- as the Royals won the Series. In 18 innings against the Cardinals, Saberhagen's earned run average was 0.50. He struck out 10, yielded 11 hits and walked one . . .

John Tudor, the Cardinals' pitching ace, apologized for his antagonistic sparring with reporters during postseason play.

Tudor, in a phone conversation from his suburban Boston home arranged by his agent, told a Los Angeles Times reporter he was sorry for comments he made to that reporter, which included the suggestion: "Want me to take a swing at you?"

Tudor extended his regrets to the press in general. "I'm not a person who likes to talk about myself," he said. "And when I have to do it, I kind of resent it. Then when you hear 45 questions about the same thing, it tries your patience" . . .

The Oakland A's and Chicago Cubs denied a report made Sunday by commentator Larry King on NBC-TV's "NFL '85" that the teams were nearing completion of a five-player deal sending outfielder Dwayne Murphy to the Cubs. "That's all it is -- a rumor," said a Cubs spokesman.