The Pirates have fired manager Clint Hurdle, according to an official statement made Sunday. General manager Neal Huntington is expected to remain with the club in 2020, with the supporting staff to be decided by the Pirates’ next manager.
Recent reports indicated that Hurdle would finish out his contract with the club through 2021, but the Pirates’ disappointing finish to their 2019 campaign made it difficult for upper management to justify that kind of decision. After playing through a season that saw numerous injuries and explosive on-field and clubhouse incidents, the team is guaranteed to finish last in the NL Central for the first time since Hurdle took the reins in 2011.
Still, Hurdle’s struggles with the club haven’t wholly eclipsed his accomplishments. He finished his nine-year run with a 735-720-1 record and guided the Pirates through four winning seasons and three consecutive postseason appearances. He’s also the fourth-winningest manager in Pirates history, trailing Fred Clarke (1900-1915 with 1,422 wins), Danny Murtaugh (1958-1964, 1970-1971, 1974-1976, 1,115 wins), and Jim Leyland (1986-1996, 851 wins).
Words cannot express how much respect and appreciation I have for Clint as a person and a leader,” Huntington said in a statement released by the Pirates. “He was the right person at the right time to take on the enormous challenge of leading our Major League team out of an extended losing streak and piloting us to three straight Postseason appearances. We will be forever grateful for his dedication to the Pirates organization on and off the field. This was an extremely difficult decision for us. As an organization, we believe it was time for a managerial change to introduce a new voice and new leadership inside the clubhouse.
This has been a challenging season on many levels. We are committed to assessing and improving upon our operations at all levels in order to return Postseason baseball to Pittsburgh.
Pirates bench coach Tom Prince will manage Sunday’s game against the Reds.