Clint Hurdle, the former manager of the Colorado Rockies and the most recent hitting coach for the World Series participant Texas Rangers, will be named today as the new manager of the Pirates. Hurdle, was up for the managing job with the New York Mets and would have gone for a 2nd interview there this week, but instead decided to choose to manage the Pirates instead. His decision is not entirely based on baseball though.
Hurdle has an 8-year-old daughter named Madison who was born with the very rare Prader-Willi syndrome. Hurdle and his family were able to get great treatment for her condition in Denver with Children's Hospital there. In Pittsburgh, they will have access to The Children's Institute, one of the nation's foremost providers of care for those affected with Prader-Willi. Hurdle serves as the national spokesman for the Prader-Willi Foundation. Prader-Willi affects about one in every 12,000 people, is a chromosomal disorder that typically causes low muscle tone, short stature if not treated with growth hormone and an insatiable appetite that can lead to life-threatening obesity. Treatment has to be ongoing and aggressive.
Hurdle, is no stranger however to coming into a team that everyone thinks is on life support and reviving them, using a farm system mostly. Something the Pirates organization ascribes to as they have some great, raw young players like Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, and Andrew McCutchen. The team will also get a very high draft pick due to their abysmal finish in the 2010 season. The Pirates have reportedly offered Hurdle a 3 year contract. Hurdle managed the Rockies for 8 years and had 1 winning season that resulted in a trip to the World Series.
The Pirates though have an 18 season losing streak going and Hurdle's .461 winning percentage rates second-worst among current managers who have managed at least 1,000 games. Looks like everyone has some hurdles to leap in this situation.