Thank You, Clint Hurdle, For Your 9 Years With The Pittsburgh Pirates
By Marty Leap
After nine years as the leader of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Clint Hurdle Era has come to an end in Pittsburgh
On November 14, 2010, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington made a hire that would forever change the franchise. It was on this day that Clint Hurdle was named the manager of the Pirates.
When Hurdle arrived in Pittsburgh the Pirates had suffered through 18 consecutive losing seasons. Due to this Hurdle said the first thing he needed to do as Pirate manager was to reconnect the city of Pittsburgh to its baseball team. It did not take Hurdle long to accomplish this.
While the Pirates finished below .500 in 2011 and 2012, Hurdle had the team in contention into August in 2011 and 2012 in September. Following the 2012 season, Hurdle made the needed changes to make his team a contender. Using more defensive shifts and analytics, Hurdle led the Pirates to 94 victories in 2013.
With 94 victories the Pirates had both their first winning season and first postseason berth since 1992. This led to that magical, unforgettable night on October 1, 2013.
The Hurdle led Pirates followed up a trip to the National League Division Series in 2013 with postseason berths in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 the Pirates were one of the best teams in franchise history winning 98 games. After the team dipped in performance in 2016 and 2017, Hurdle rallied the troops to put together another winning season in 2018.
As someone who was born in August of 1992 growing up as a Pirate fan winning baseball was a foreign concept. The Pirates stunk and had always stunk, but then Hurdle came along and that began to change.
Anyone who reads the site or follows us on Twitter knows that the in game decisions made by Hurdle that infuriated me were plenty. The same goes for lineup construction, reliance on platoons and his insistence on double switches. However, he still made Pirate baseball fun again. He made being a Pirate fan cool again.
Attending that 2013 Wild Card Game against the Reds with my dad is, and forever will be, one my fondest memories. To be honest, being part of one of the greatest crowds at one of the most memorable games in MLB history with my dad ranks behind just the birth of my youngest son, the adoption of my oldest son, and my wedding day on the list of best days of me life. This day was made possible thanks in part to Mr. Hurdle.
As Tony Stark proclaimed in the video he left behind for his wife Pepper and daughter Morgan following his death in Avengers: Endgame, “that’s the hero gig, part of the journey is the end.” In many ways Hurdle was a hero to the Pirates and their fans. While his journey in Pittsburgh was one that saw him lead the Pirates to a 735-720-1 record in nine seasons, including a 584-547-1 record in his final seven seasons, the journey has come to an end.
No, I did not always agree with Hurdle. Yes, it was time for a change and for a new leader in the Pirate clubhouse. However, none of that changes all of the great things Hurdle accomplished in Pittsburgh.
Under Hurdle’s guidance baseball in Pittsburgh mattered again. For the first time in 20 years it became fun and the Pirates were made into contenders. For that, Hurdle deserves a thank you from all Pirate fans.