Danny Murtaugh

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Daniel Edward Murtaugh
(The Whistling Irishman)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Danny Murtaugh was an infielder who played parts of nine seasons in the National League. Afterwards, he became more famous as a manager for 15 seasons. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates to World Championships in 1960 and 1971. Roberto Clemente was a star on both of those teams.

Signed at the age of 19, Murtaugh came up at the age of 23 with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1941, just before World War II. He made a splash by stealing 18 bases in 85 games, which was enough to lead the National League in stolen bases. The big hitting stars on the Phillies that year were Nick Etten and Danny Litwhiler.

Prior to joining the Phillies, Murtaugh had made a name for himself on the Houston Buffaloes, leading the Texas League with 106 runs in 1940, then hitting .316 in 69 games on one of the minor leagues' greatest teams (they won 103 games during the 1941 season).

After playing as a regular in 1942 and most of 1943, he missed the war years of 1944 and 1945, and was virtually absent from the majors in 1946 and 1947. He did tie for the International League lead with 174 hits in 1946 with the Rochester Red Wings.

In 1948, he had one of his two best seasons with the bat, hitting .290 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and getting 60 walks. In 1950, he pushed it up a bit to .294, the highest average on the team.

A second baseman primarily, he also played 61 games at shortstop and 58 at third base.

During off seasons, Danny worked at McGovern's Men's Store in his hometown of Chester, PA.

After his playing career ended, Murtaugh managed the New Orleans Pelicans in 1952-1954 and the Charleston Senators in 1955. He was the Pirates' third base coach in 1956 and 1957 and the team's manager for four separate stints: from 1957 to 1964 (he stepped down after the 1964 season because of heart trouble); in 1967 (he finished out the season after Harry Walker was fired); in 1970 and 1971; and from 1973 to 1976 (general manager Joe Brown lured him out of the front office to replace Bill Virdon; Murtaugh retired for good because of declining health and a desire to spend more time with his family, but died shortly after managing his last game).

His trademark as manager was a rocking chair, from which he would hold court with the press. He is famous for being the first manager to ever start nine black players in the same game, on September 1, 1971; it was not a gimmick, but simply a function of who was available to play that day. That team went on to win the 1971 World Series.

Murtaugh also served the Pirates as a scout in 1965-1967 and in the front office as director of player acquisition in 1968-1969.

Murtaugh died two days after suffering a stroke. His son Tim Murtaugh played and managed in the minor leagues.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
Bobby Bragan
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Harry Walker
Preceded by
Harry Walker
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Larry Shepard
Preceded by
Alex Grammas
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Bill Virdon
Preceded by
Bill Virdon
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Chuck Tanner

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1952 New Orleans Pelicans Southern Association 80-75 5th Pittsburgh Pirates
1953 New Orleans Pelicans Southern Association 76-78 5th Pittsburgh Pirates
1954 New Orleans Pelicans Southern Association 92-62 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates Lost League Finals
1955 Charleston Senators American Association 31-64 -- none replaced by Vern Rapp on July 16
1957 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 26-25 7th Pittsburgh Pirates replaced Bobby Bragan (36-67) on August 4
1958 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 84-70 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1959 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 78-76 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
1960 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 95-59 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Won World Series
1961 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 75-79 6th Pittsburgh Pirates
1962 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 93-68 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
1963 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 74-88 8th Pittsburgh Pirates
1964 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 80-82 6th Pittsburgh Pirates
1967 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 39-39 6th Pittsburgh Pirates replaced Harry Walker (42-42) on July 18
1970 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 89-73 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Lost NLCS
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 97-65 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Won World Series
1973 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 13-13 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates replaced Bill Virdon (67-69) on September 7
1974 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 88-74 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Lost NLCS
1975 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 92-69 1st Pittsburgh Pirates Lost NLCS
1976 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 92-70 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Pittsburgh Manager Says His Nine Black Starters Are Just Pirate", Jet, November 4, 1971, p. 51. [1]
  • Bob Addie: "Danny Murtaugh: The Gentle 'Buccaneer'", Baseball Digest, March 1977, pp. 78-80. [2]
  • Associated Press: "Polls? Murtaugh Approves of 'Em", Baseball Digest, February 1949, pp. 75-76. [3]
  • Bruce Markusen: "Cooperstown Confidential: Danny Murtaugh and the Hall of Fame", The Hardball Times, December 4, 2009. [4]
  • Harold Rosenthal: Baseball's Best Managers, Thomas Nelson & Sons, New York, NY, 1961, pp. 95-116. [5]
  • Bob Smizik: "Blass: Walking Papers Due", The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 24, 1975, pp. 22-23. [6]
  • Andy Sturgill: "Danny Murtaugh", in Clifton Blue Parker and Bill Nowlin, ed.: Sweet '60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 226-230. ISBN 978-1-93359-948-9

Related Sites[edit]