In this episode of the L3 Leadership Podcast, Doug Smith interviews Clint Hurdle, Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They talk about Clint’s favorite moment as the Pirates manager, coaching, leadership, faith, family, and more!
L3 Leadership Podcast Episode #123: Interview with Clint Hurdle, Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Clint Hurdle was named manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 15, 2010, thus becoming the 39th manager in the organization’s history. The 2016 season will mark his 42nd overall in professional baseball. Hurdle has led the Pirates to the postseason in three consecutive seasons, joining Fred Clarke (1901-1903) and Jim Leyland (1990-1992) as the only managers in club history to do so. Under Hurdle’s guidance, the Pirates posted the second-best record in the Major Leagues in 2015 (98-64) and the best mark overall from May 9 thru the end of the season (85-48, .639). In his five seasons as Pittsburgh’s manager, Hurdle has posted a 431-379 record. He picked up career win #900 on 6/12/15 and his 431 managerial victories in a Pirates uniform rank seventh on the club’s all-time list. In addition, Hurdle enters the 2016 season ranked sixth in wins among active managers (965). For his efforts in 2015, Hurdle finished fourth in the voting for N.L. Manager-of-the-Year by the BBWAA; he finished second to Washington manager Matt Williams in 2014. During the 2014 campaign, Clint picked up his 800th career managerial victory on May 23 and was a member of Mike Matheny’s coaching staff at the All-Star Game in Minnesota. Hurdle was named the 2013 National League Manager-of-the-Year by the BBWAA after leading the Pirates to a 94-68 record and their first postseason berth since 1992. He received 25 first-place votes and was listed second on the other five ballots, as well as being the only manager in either league named on all 30 ballots. Hurdle was just the second Pittsburgh manager to win the award, joining Jim Leyland, who won in 1990 and 1992. Hurdle also captured Manager-of-the-Year honors from The Sporting News in 2013, joining Billy Meyer (1948), Danny Murtaugh (1960, 1970) and Jim Leyland (1988, 1990, 1992) as past winners in club history. Hurdle spent 2010 as the Hitting Coach of the A.L. champion Texas Rangers, a club that led the Majors with a .276 average during the regular season – paced by A.L. MVP Josh Hamilton (.359 average, 32 homers and 100 RBI) and Vladimir Guerrero (.300 average, 29 homers and 115 RBI). Prior to joining the Texas coaching staff on November 5, 2009, Hurdle spent over 15 years in the Colorado organization, serving as a minor league hitting coordinator, Major League hitting coach and manager at the big league level. He compiled a 543-625 record while serving the Rockies as manager from April 26, 2002, until he was relieved of his duties on May 29, 2009. Clint has the most wins of any manager in Colorado team history, winning his 500th career game on August 29, 2008 at Los Angeles. In 2007, Hurdle led the Rockies to the World Series as the club captured its first National League pennant in franchise history. The 2007 club, which won 11 straight games in September, won 21 of its 22 games leading up to the World Series, where Boston pulled off a four-game sweep. During the 2007 post season, the Rockies swept the Phillies in the Division Series and Arizona in the Championship Series before falling to the Red Sox in the Fall Classic. For his efforts in 2007, Hurdle received four first-place votes and finished third in the voting for N.L. Manager-of-the-Year. His ’07 squad also compiled the highest single-season fielding pct. in Major League history (.989), a mark that still stands. Clint also served as manager of the National League in the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, the longest game (time, innings) in All-Star history (the N.L. lost 4-3 in 15 innings in a game that lasted 4:50). Hurdle was also a coach for the N.L. staff during the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston. Hurdle’s managerial career at the big league level began with a 4-1 victory over the Phillies at Coors Field on April 26, 2002. He replaced Buddy Bell as Colorado’s skipper that day and went 6-0 in his first six games – tied for the sixth-best winning streak by a manager following a mid-season managerial change in Major League history (Joe Morgan holds the record as his Red Sox won their first 12 games in 1988). In his five-plus years tutoring Colorado’s hitters, the club compiled the N.L.’s top two averages in 70 years (.294 in 2000 and .292 in 2001) and the league’s most base hits since 1930 (1,664 in 2000). In 2001 alone, the Rockies established a Major League record for total bases (2,748) and the N.L. mark for extra-base hits (598). Hurdle, who doubled as the club’s First Base Coach from 1997-98, remained on the coaching staff under three different Colorado managers; Don Baylor, Jim Leyland and Buddy Bell. Prior to becoming Hitting Coach in 1997, Clint served the Rockies as their minor league hitting instructor from 1994-96. Before he joined the Colorado organization, Hurdle managed in the New York Mets system for six years (1988-1993) and compiled a 412-418 record. In his first season as a manager, and in St. Lucie’s first year of existence, he led the club to a second-half division title and the Florida State League championship. Hurdle also took his 1989 St. Lucie club and the 1990 Jackson team to the post season, losing in the first round of the playoffs each year. After managing Williamsport in the Eastern League in 1991, Clint wrapped up his minor league managerial career with two seasons at the Triple-A level with Tidewater in 1992 and Norfolk in 1993. Clint with a Miracle League participant. Primarily an outfielder during his playing days, Hurdle was selected by Kansas City in the first round (9th player overall) of the 1975 June draft. After three full seasons in the minor leagues, which included American Association Rookie-of-the-Year and All-Star Game MVP honors while playing with Omaha in 1977, Clint made his Major League debut at the age of 20 with the Royals on September 18, 1977, and hit a two-run homer off Seattle’s Glenn Abbott in his second at bat. Hurdle played parts of 10 seasons in the Majors with the Royals (1977-1981), Reds (1982), Mets (1983, 1985, 1987) and Cardinals (1986) and compiled a .259 average, 81 doubles, 12 triples, 32 home runs and 193 RBI in 515 games. He appeared in the post season twice with Kansas City, going 3-for-8 with an RBI in four games against the Yankees in the 1978 A.LC.S., and advancing as far as the World Series in 1980, only to lose in four games to the Phillies. After spending the 1982 season in the Cincinnati organization, Hurdle was signed by New York as a minor league free agent prior to the 1983 campaign and played three years in the Mets system before being selected by St. Louis in the 1985 Rule 5 Draft. In his final season as a player (1987), Clint appeared in 97 games with Triple-A Tidewater and went 1-for-3 in three games with the Mets. In his big league career, he made 240 appearances in right field, 96 in left field, 92 at first base, 22 at catcher and 15 at third base. Hurdle, who hit the final home run in Minnesota’s historical Metropolitan Stadium on 9/30/81, hit his final big league homer on 9/9/86 at Three Rivers Stadium – a solo shot off Pittsburgh’s Rick Reuschel.
PERSONAL: Clinton Merrick Hurdle…Wife’s name is Karla…Has three children; daughter Ashley (7/18/85) lives in San Francisco, daughter Madison (8/7/02) and son Christian (11/15/04)…Is the Prader-Willi national spokesperson, an organization that raises awareness for Prader-Willi Syndrome, a complex genetic disorder his daughter Madison was born with; Prader-Willi affects about one in every 12,000 people and is caused by the deletion of part of an individual’s 15th chromosome (check out www.pwsausa. org for more information)…Is a 1975 graduate of Merritt Island (FL) High School, where he lettered in baseball, football and basketball…Batted .567 with four homers and 25 RBI in 24 games during his senior year while earning AllState and All-American honors…Was also a quarterback and signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Miami (FL), but chose to sign with Kansas City after the Royals selected him in the first round of the 1975 June draft…Spent second half of the 2009 season as an analyst on the MLB Network…Has been ejected 45 times in his career as a manager (24 times with the Pirates); also three times as a coach and once as a player…Was inducted into the Florida State League Hall-of-Fame in 2011… Supports countless community efforts in Pittsburgh and throughout the country, along with his wife Karla…Was named 2013 Manager-of-the-Year by the Pittsburgh Rotary Club and the 2013 Dapper Dan Man-of-the-Year, an award given annually since 1939 to a Pittsburgh sports fi gure in recognition of outstanding achievement on a national level…Had the baseball fi eld at Merritt Island High School dedicated in his name on 1/31/14…Received the Brooks Robinson Community Service Award from the MLBPAA on 11/18/14 for his dedication to young people across the country.
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