Former Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Danny Murtaugh Belongs In Cooperstown


Since 1887, the Pittsburgh Pirates have given the sports fans of Western Pennsylvania something to look forward to every spring and summer. Clint Hurdle is the 39th manager to helm the ship of the Jolly Roger.

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I want to go back and review the career of another Bucs skipper, Daniel Edward Murtaugh. He led the Pirates four times, which is the National League record for the most times managing the same team. The Chester, Pa., native, who was also known as the “Whistling Irishman,” was in charge of the Pittsburgh dugout from 1957-1964, 1967, 1970-1971, and 1973-1976.

There are 23 managers enshrined in Cooperstown. Let’s take a look at the “Tale of the Tape” that was Danny Murtaugh’s managerial career.

The former Phillies/Braves/Pirates second baseman led the Bucs to 1,115-950 record and .540 winning percentage. Over the course of 12 full seasons and parts of three additional seasons, he had nine winning records. In fact, the crew of the Jolly Roger had at least 90 victories on five different occasions on his watch.

Murtaugh claimed two National League pennants and two World Series championships in 1960 and 1971. He collected four NL Eastern Division titles in 1970, 1971, 1974, and 1975.

He has more wins than Hall of Fame manager Billy Southworth, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves.

Murtaugh’s .540 win percentage is better than these Hall of Famer’s – Ned Hanlon’s .530, Bucky Harris’ .493, Tommy Lasorda’s .526, Connie Mack’s .486, Bill McKechnie’s .524, Wilbert Robinson’s .500, Casey Stengel’s .508, Dick Williams’ .520, Tony La Russa’s .536, and Joe Torre’s .538. It ties him with Leo Durocher.

Those two World Series titles puts him on par with Harris, Lasorda, McKechnie, Southworth, and Williams. It is more than Hall of Famers Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog, and Durocher, who have one championship each. Meanwhile, Al Lopez and Robinson have no World Series crowns.

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  • One of Murtaugh’s lasting contributions to Major League Baseball history came on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1971 at Three Rivers Stadium against the Philadelphia Phillies. His lineup card consisted of nine African-American or Latino players.

    The starting lineup was Rennie Stennett – 2B, Gene Clines – CF, Roberto Clemente – RF, Willie Stargell – LF, Manny Sanguillén – C, Dave Cash – 3B, Al Oliver – 1B, Jackie Hernández – SS, and right-hander Dock Ellis on the mound. They defeated the Phillies 10-7.

    He was the Associated Press Manager of the Year in 1958. The award at that time covered both the National and American Leagues. Murtaugh was the AP’s National League Manager of the Year recipient in 1960 and 1970. He was also awarded The Sporting News Manager of the Year in 1960 and 1970.

    Murtaugh died Thursday, Dec. 2, 1976 after leading the Pirates to a 92-70 record earlier in the year. It was on Thursday, April 7, 1977 that his No. 40 was retired by the Bucs. He joins Billy Meyer – 1, Ralph Kiner – 4, Willie Stargell – 8, Bill Mazeroski – 9, Paul Waner – 11, Pie Traynor – 20, Roberto Clemente – 21, Honus Wagner – 33, and Jackie Robinson – 42 to achieve that team honor.

    Hall Of Fame manager Miller Huggins once said, “A manager has his cards dealt to him, and he must play them.” It is time for the Golden Era Committee to correct what the Veterans Committee it replaced failed to do. It is time to elect Danny Murtaugh into Cooperstown.

    Next: Pirates and Josh Harrison agree to extension

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