Clint Hurdle Wins The Sporting News NL Manager of the Year

Clint Hurdle is The Sporting News NL Manager of the Year. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Clint Hurdle is The Sporting News NL Manager of the Year. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Yesterday The Sporting News named Francisco Liriano their NL Comeback Player of the Year after the lefty dominated a players vote. Today, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was named The Sporting News National League Manager of the Year. The award was decided based on a vote held only by NL managers. Hurdle won with five of the 15 votes. In second was Fredi Gonzalez with three. Those were the only managers to receive more than one vote.

In a lot of cases, the manager of the year automatically goes to someone like Hurdle, who posts a winning season with a team that wasn’t expected to win. In a lot of those cases, it’s more about the players, and the manager didn’t really do much to impact that team except to watch everyone improve. In this case, Hurdle did a few unconventional things that a lot of managers wouldn’t do, specifically embracing the extreme defensive shifts that led to this team’s success. I wrote about why Hurdle deserved to be the Manager of the Year last week, pointing out those unconventional approaches. Another key factor in that article is how Hurdle held the team together, which allowed them to go the whole season without losing more than four games in a row. It also prepared them to perform well in almost every big game of the season.

Like every managerial award, the bulk of the credit has to go to the players who put the manager in position to win the award. But unlike a lot of previous awards, I think this is more than just a case where the manager with the best or most surprising record won. You could easily make an argument that Hurdle played a key role in the success the Pirates had this year.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Scott Skink

Hurdle got five votes, Fredi got three. Meaning seven others got one vote each or some managers just didn’t vote. Sporting News reported only nine votes (Matheny got 1) out of 15 possible – seems voter turnout for this is getting about as bad as US elections!


I will give Hurdle credit for No.2 on your list, but not No. 1, he had very little to do with the shifts, that was Huntington and his tech people. Huntington is the one that said he went to Hurdles home to discuss shifts, when your boss talks, you listen.
I don’t know if Hurdle deserves manager of the year because of his poor field managing, but he does have many quality manager traits.

Stephen Brooks

Too bad he “doesn’t know how to manage in September.”

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