The Pirates’ manager search could be ending soon. Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates have narrowed their choices down to Derek Shelton of the Twins and Matt Quatraro of the Rays, with a decision possibly coming this week.

I like what the Pirates have set up so far. Regardless of the choice here, they get a manager from a successful small market team. The Rays and Twins do a great job of keeping everyone on the same page, specifically keeping the manager on the same page as the front office. Gone are the days where the GM built the team and the manager had full control from there.

You’d assume that Shelton and Quatraro would both be that type of manager, carrying out the on-field plan that is set throughout the organization.

As for Cherington, I like his background with Toronto. His job was aimed at finding out what other organizations are doing well, and to try and replicate that. He obviously would have followed the Rays during that span, as they’re not only a very smart and successful small market organization, but they were in the same division. You assume he would have also followed what the Twins were doing.

The Pirates will likely have a manager coming from either the Rays or Twins, with each having the knowledge of how those small market teams operate. They’ll also have a GM whose previous job was finding out how successful teams are successful, which presumably would include studying the Rays and Twins.

The Pirates have fallen behind recently in development, hitting and pitching philosophies, and with the use of analytics. Cherington will seemingly be in a good spot to replicate what the successful organizations are doing, and it will only help matters to bring in a manager from one of those successful organizations.

It’s only a few small steps, and a plan on paper doesn’t always work in execution. But the plan looks good so far if you’re hoping that Cherington can get the Pirates back to being one of the successful small market teams.


What a classic.



By John Dreker

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a pair of strong third basemen and a current broadcaster for the team.

Richie Hebner, third baseman for the 1968-76 and 1982-83 Pirates. In 11 seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit .277 with 128 homers and 520 RBIs in 1,140 games. He batted .301 as a rookie, hit .300 again two years later, then hit 25 homers in 1973. Hebner homered twice during the 1971 NLCS and then added another during the World Series. He hit 203 homers during his 18-year career.

Bob Elliott, third baseman/outfielder for the 1939-46 Pirates. He was a three-time All-Star in eight seasons with the Pirates, hitting .292 with 633 RBIs in 1,047 games. They traded him prior to the 1947 season and he went on the win the NL MVP award that season. Elliott had six seasons with 100+ RBIs and made the All-Star team six times. He was a .289 career hitter with 1,195 RBIs.

Bob Walk, pitcher for the 1984-93 Pirates. In ten seasons in Pittsburgh, he went 82-61, 3.83 in 1,303 innings. Walk picked up double digit victories in six of his 14 seasons in the majors. He was an All-Star in 1988 when he posted a 2.71 ERA in 212.2 innings. He made three starts and four relief appearances during the 1990-92 NLCS playoffs. Walk has been announcing for the Pirates since he retired following the 1993 season.

Josh Smoker, lefty reliever for the 2018 Pirates. He pitched seven games with Pittsburgh, posting an 11.12 ERA in 5.2 innings. He also made 74 appearances with the 2016-17 New York Mets and one appearance for the 2018 Detroit Tigers. Smoker split 2019 between Triple-A (Dodgers) and independent ball.

Joe Muir, lefty pitcher for the 1951-52 Pirates. In two seasons, he went 2-5, 5.19 in 52 innings over six starts and 15 relief appearances. The Pirates were his only big league team. He complied a 62-40 record in seven minor league seasons.

Bill Warwick, catcher for the 1921 Pirates. He made his big league debut on July 18, 1921 with the Pirates and caught two innings, while going 0-for-1 at the plate. He also played 22 games for the 1925-26 St Louis Cardinals and finished with a .304 average. His father-in-law was his manager with the Pirates, George Gibson.

Gussie Gannon, lefty pitcher for the 1895 Pirates. He had a six-year minor league career in which he went 55-55, but his MLB career consisted of just one relief appearance. On June 15, 1895, Bill Hart started for the Pirates and got hit hard. The Pirates called upon Gannon to make his major league debut and the rookie ended up going the last five innings. He allowed four runs, though just one was earned, gave up seven hits, two walks and he failed to strikeout a batter. Gannon struck out both times he batted. He lived until 1966, making him one of the last surviving 19th century major league players.

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