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Clint Hurdle

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Clinton Merrick Hurdle

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[edit] Biographical Information

Clint Hurdle was a first-round pick whose promising career was derailed at age 23 by a back injury. From April 2002 through May 2009 he managed the Colorado Rockies, leading them to the 2007 World Series.

Selected by the Kansas City Royals with the ninth overall pick in the 1975 amateur draft, outfielder Hurdle reached the majors in 1977 as a 20 year old. In spring training in 1978, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a "can't miss" prospect, something which was later held to have jinxed his career. That season, he was given regular playing time alongside stars such as George Brett, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson, and Hal McRae, at a time when the Royals were winning the division practically every year. He hit a decent .264 that year, but without the expected power, and went 3 for 8 in the ALCS. After struggling at the plate and being sent down to the AAA Omaha Royals in 1979, he became a regular the next year, hitting .294 with 10 homers, while batting seventh in the lineup, behind Otis. In the 1980 World Series, he appeared in 4 games, hitting .417.

Hurdle began 1981 by putting up even better numbers, and despite missing considerable time due to injuries, still managed to hit .329. After that season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Scott Brown. This is when he was sidelined by a back injury that almost ended his career there and then; it didn't, but it ended his chances of ever being a major league regular again. He only hit .206 in 19 games for the Reds in 1982, and .245 but with decent power for AAA Indianapolis. He was released at the end of the year.

After hitting .282 with 22 homers and 105 RBIs for the Tidewater Tides in 1983, Hurdle later played briefly for the New York Mets (who attempted to convert him to catcher) and the St. Louis Cardinals. He did spend the entire 1985 season with the Mets as a third-string catcher, but only gathered 82 at-bats. He retired after the 1987 season which he split between New York and Tidewater. In 1989, he played for the St. Lucie Legends of the Senior Professional Baseball Association and hit .252 in 42 games with the club.

After his playing career ended, Hurdle was a manager in the New York Mets minor league system for six years. He was also Colorado Rockies hitting coach for more than five seasons before becoming the club's manager in April 2002. After five consecutive losing season at the helm of the Rockies, he led them to a surprise postseason appearance in 2007. The team seemed to be well out of the race by mid-September, but suddenly caught fire, finishing the regular season with a 13-1 run to tie the San Diego Padres for second-best record in the National League. The Rockies played a one-game playoff with the Padres and came out on the right end of an epic, 13-inning 9-8 game to clinch the NL wild card. The team then swept through the NLDS and the NLCS to reach the World Series for the first time in team history. The fairy tale season ended there, though, as the Rox were swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series

The last two teams in major league history (through 2007) to win 19 out of 20 are the 1977 Royals featuring Clint Hurdle as a player, and the 2007 Colorado Rockies featuring Clint Hurdle as manager.

He was dismissed by the Rockies on May 29, 2009 after having been manager since 2002. He had been affiliated with the Rockies since 1994 and was offered a different job by the organization; he was replaced by bench coach and former big league skipper Jim Tracy. In 2010, he served as hitting coach for the Texas Rangers as the team went all the way to the World Series, largely on the strength of its hitting, then on November 15th was introduced as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2011, taking over for John Russell. In each of his first two seasons with the Pirates, he had the team playing over .500 ball in the first half, only to suffer a dramatic collapse in the second half and finish well below the magic mark. Those two seasons brought the Pirates's string of losing season to a record of 21. The skein was finally broken in 2013 when after a slow first week, the Pirates got hot in April, and then stayed in a three-team race for not only the best record in the NL Central but in all of the major leagues with the Cardinals and Reds, two teams Hurdle had once played for. In the end, the Cardinals ended up on top, winning the division title, but the Pirates came in second, finally breaking the string of losing seasons and also making the postseason for the first time since 1992. They hosted the Reds in the Wild Card Game and won, then pushed the Cards to the five-game limit in the Division Series to end a very successful season. Hurdle's role in the turnaround was recognized when he was named the National League Manager of the Year after the season.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL Manager of the Year Award (2013)
  • Postseason appearances: 2 (2007 & 2013 - Wild Card)
  • NL Pennants: 1 (2007)


Preceded by
Buddy Bell
Colorado Rockies Manager
2002-2009
Succeeded by
Jim Tracy
Preceded by
John Russell
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
2011-Present
Succeeded by
Present

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1988 St. Lucie Mets Florida State League 74-65 4th/1st New York Mets League Champs
1989 St. Lucie Mets Florida State League 79-55 1st/1st New York Mets Lost in 1st round
1990 Jackson Mets Texas League 73-62 3rd New York Mets Lost in 1st round
1991 Williamsport Bills Eastern League 60-79 7th New York Mets
1992 Tidewater Tides International League 56-86 8th New York Mets
1993 Norfolk Tides International League 70-71 6th New York Mets
2002 Colorado Rockies National League 67-73 4th Colorado Rockies replaced Buddy Bell (6-16) on April 26
2003 Colorado Rockies National League 74-88 4th Colorado Rockies
2004 Colorado Rockies National League 68-94 4th Colorado Rockies
2005 Colorado Rockies National League 67-95 5th Colorado Rockies
2006 Colorado Rockies National League 76-86 4th Colorado Rockies
2007 Colorado Rockies National League 90-73 2nd Colorado Rockies Lost World Series
2008 Colorado Rockies National League 74-88 3rd Colorado Rockies
2009 Colorado Rockies National League 18-28 -- Colorado Rockies Replaced by Jim Tracy on May 29
2011 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 72-90 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
2012 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 79-83 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 94-68 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates Lost NLDS
2014 Pittsburgh Pirates National League Pittsburgh Pirates

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