Pirates to introduce Clint Hurdle as new manager
The Pirates found success after increasing their efforts over the weekend to lure Clint Hurdle, and today they will introduce the veteran skipper as their 39th manager.
Although the official announcement won't come until 11 a.m., several industry sources confirmed yesterday Hurdle has been hired. Former Pirates interim bench coach Jeff Banister, the other finalist for the job, got the news Saturday during a phone call from general manager Neal Huntington.
"It's tough going against a guy who's been to two World Series in the past (four) years," Banister said. "I knew when this (search) started that I only had an outside shot. I'm happy for Clint. He's a terrific guy."
Hurdle, who got a three-year contract from the Pirates, was not available for comment.
The New York Mets also targeted Hurdle to fill their manager vacancy. After Hurdle interviewed with the Mets last Wednesday -- and reportedly was set for a follow-up interview later this week -- the Pirates stepped up the intensity of their talks with him.
A source close to the negotiations with the Pirates said the length of Hurdle's contract was never a sticking point. Financial terms of Hurdle's deal were not immediately available.
Hurdle, 53, recently completed his first season as hitting coach for the Texas Rangers, who lost the World Series in five games to the San Francisco Giants. Hurdle also spent seven seasons as Colorado's manager and steered the Rockies to the World Series in 2007.
Hurdle replaces John Russell, who was fired Oct. 4 after going 186-299 over three seasons. The Pirates went 57-105 this year, their third-highest loss total, and notched their 18th consecutive losing season.
The Pirates interviewed eight job candidates. Eric Wedge was first to speak with them, but he fell off the list when he was hired by the Seattle Mariners. John Gibbons, Ken Macha, Bo Porter, Carlos Tosca and Dale Sveum also were considered.
Before joining the Rangers, Hurdle worked 15 years for the Rockies. In seven-plus seasons as manager, Hurdle went 534-625, making him the winningest skipper in franchise history.
In 2007, Hurdle guided the Rockies to second place in the National League West and a wild run to the World Series. They won 21 of their final 22 regular-season games, won seven consecutive playoff games, then were swept in the Series by the Boston Red Sox.
The Kansas City Royals made Hurdle the ninth overall draft pick in 1975 out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High School. He made his major league debut two years later at age 19.
Hurdle played 10 years in the majors, mostly as an outfielder. In 515 career games, he hit .259 with 32 homers and 193 RBI.
In 1988, one year after retiring as a player, Hurdle was named manager of Single-A St. Lucie. He also managed in the Mets' system at the Double-A level from 1990-91 and in Triple-A from 1992-93.
Hurdle jumped to Colorado's system in 1994 as minor league hitting instructor. In '97, he became the Rockies' hitting coach.
In 2002, after Buddy Bell was fired, Hurdle took over as the Rockies' manager.
On May 29, 2009, after the Rockies got off to a 18-28 start, Hurdle was fired. He worked the rest of the season as a studio analyst for MLB Network, then was hired by the Rangers last offseason.
Clint Hurdle named Pirates manager
The Pirates hire Clint Hurdle as the 39th manager in team history.
Resume: Rangers hitting coach (2010); Rockies hitting coach, manager (2002-09)
As a player: Royals' first-round draft pick (ninth overall) in 1975 as an outfielder out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High. ... Played for the Royals (1977-81), Reds (1982), Mets (1983-85, '87) and Cardinals (1986).
Notable: Was tabbed as 'This Year's Phenom' player on a Sports Illustrated cover in 1978. ... Managed in the Mets' farm system from 1988-93. ... In seven-plus seasons as manager, Hurdle went 534-625 and guided the Rockies to one second-place finish in the National League West. ... He and wife Karla have two children, a boy and a girl. Hurdle also has a daughter from a previous marriage. ... He is national spokesman for Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder that his daughter Madison was born with.
Next in line
Clint Hurdle is scheduled to become the 39th manager in Pirates history. The following is a list of Pirates managers and their records during the team's run of 18 consecutive losing seasons:
Name Years Record Pct.
John Russell 2008-10 186-299 .384
Jim Tracy 2006-07 135-189 .417
Pete Mackanin* 2005 12-14 .462
Lloyd McClendon 2001-05 336-446 .430
Gene Lamont 1997-2000 295-352 .456
Jim Leyland 1986-1996 851-863 .496
* Interim manager
Source: Tribune-Review research