Hurdle never tires of Opening Day
CHICAGO — On the first Opening Day in the major leagues, Clint Hurdle stood on a grassy field in Cleveland Stadium and felt ... uncomfortable.
"I have always experienced some anxious anticipation on Opening Day, regardless of the role I had at the time," said Hurdle, who today will manage the Pirates for the first time in their opener against the Chicago Cubs. It will be Hurdle's 20th Opening Day in the big leagues as either a player, coach or manager.
"It's always special, and it always will be," Hurdle said.
On April 8, 1978, and Hurdle was about to embark on his first full season with the Kansas City Royals, who 34 months earlier had made him their first-round draft pick. About a week before spring training ended, the Royals switched Hurdle, then 20 years old, from the outfield to first base.
"I remember I was very uncomfortable," Hurdle said. "It was a big transition for me, so I was just trying to make sure I did what I needed to do."
When manager Whitey Herzog filled out his Opening Day batting order, he put Hurdle in the No. 5 spot behind Willie Wilson, Hal McRae, George Brett and Al Cowens.
"That Opening Day was the culmination of a dream that I had since I was 6, so it probably was the most emotional one of my career," Hurdle said. "I realized all the hard work, all the sacrifice, all the effort had gotten me to that place. It was a day I'll never forget."
Really• How did he do in the game?
"I did start that day, but I don't even remember now," Hurdle said. "I can't remember if I got a hit. I don't know. It's so long ago."
"Obviously, I didn't hit three homers."
Hurdle went hitless in four at-bats in the Royals' 8-5 loss to the Indians. He also went hitless on Opening Day a year later.
Finally, in 1980, Hurdle got his first Opening Day hit, a fourth-inning double off Detroit Tigers righty Jack Morris. It was one of only three hits allowed by Morris, who tossed a complete game.
Hurdle's best Opening Day performance came in 1981, when he went 3 for 4 with a run and one RBI in a 5-3 loss to Baltimore.
Although he played until 1987, Hurdle started just one more season opener, going 0 for 3 for the Reds in 1982.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Cole cool about hostile comment
- Bush Center displays rare Honus Wagner baseball card
- Gameday: Pirates at Detroit, July 1, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Cervelli gets 1st career DH start
- Pirates hope 1st baseman Alvarez starts to regain power stroke
- Gameday: Pirates at Tigers, June 30, 2015
- Pirates grind out extra-inning win against testy Tigers
- Pirates notebook: Pitchers’ ploys force Kang to adapt
- Pirates minor league report: Kramer comes with power potential with short-season Black Bears
- Long toss is considered valuable tool for MLB pitchers’ arm health
- Liriano dominates former team as Pirates rout White Sox