So it looks like the Pirates could hire another failed first rounder for their coach. I guess there isn’t a choice. It appears more and more like the manager the Pirates want most is playing hard to get. Reports we read today said he will interview with the Mets in the next 48 hours. (Update: the interview will be today, Wednesday Nov 10) It’s hard for us to fathom Hurdle being headed to NY.
So we got to thinking about Clint Hurdle. It must have sucked when he finally realized the dream was over. He was ‘can’t miss.’
Hurdle was the ninth overall pick in the first round in 1975. Just like John Russell was a first rounder–the 13th overall pick in 1982. Just like Joe Kerrigan who was the 10th overall pick in 1974. All were busts. All were failed phenoms. Two of the three were leaders in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. One is locked in a waiting game for the job as skipper of a Pirates team that desperately needs to name a manager and get busy adding talent to a team that lost 105 games last season.
On the Royals first pennant winner, Hurdle was a starter in right field. Hurdle was asked to move to first base when the Royals traded John Mayberry before the season opener and played 52 games at first. Although he came up insanely quick through the Royals system as an outfielder, the Royals thought they could maximize their talent.
Hurdle struggled at the plate as he tried to learn the big glove. He barely hit above the Mendoza line the first month. Hurdle hadn’t hit that poorly in his life. The Royals eventually sent him back to the outfield and he split time between left and right field. But Hurdle was never the same. His 1980 season when he hit ten bombs and had a line of .294/.349/.458 was the best ‘the phenom’ would ever produce.
So what was that idea about moving Pedro Alvarez to first base? As Pirates fans we might want to think long and hard about that idea, especially with Alvarez just finding his groove late in the season. If Hurdle gets the Pirates gig, you can bet your ass the story will come up.
If the Pirates did their homework, it was probably discussed in the interview. Wait. Nevermind.
The Clint Hurdle story is a tale of man that never reached his dream of being a mega star in MLB. Hurdle hung out in bars and drank a little too much despite the urgent pleas of his father. He blew it. If you believe the articles, Hurdle continued to hang out in low places after his career ended and his manager job began, similar to where his career ended up. The kid who couldn’t miss, missed big.
The story isn’t a pretty one. Divorces. A shoplifting arrest. Yeh, when he was 34 years old, he tried to nab $1.79 worth of Valentine items in Williamsport. Most of us had forgotten, Deadspin doesn’t.
But we give the man credit, he got his life together. That mess is in the rear view mirror right?
Can he improve the Pirates young hitters? Could he be a defacto hitting coach? We think a man that launched bombs knows a thing or two about hitting. He’s proven it with the Rockies. We also think that deep down the boys in the suits on Federal Street believe the same thing.
Heh, if all of our speculation doesn’t come true at least the guy has a few stories to tell. He knows all about failure in his career. But he also knows about winning, albeit not as much as any Pirates fan would prefer. He probably will yell at umpires too.
But this stuff about moving Pedro? Hurdle might have something to say about that.