WHEELING - The speaker for this year's Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner is sure to be a hit with local baseball fans.
Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, will give the keynote address for the May 20 event at Wheeling Park's White Palace. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. in the White Palace Ballroom followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $50 per person for chamber members and $60 for non-members. Tables of 10 can be reserved. For information, call Terry A. Sterling, chamber president, at (304) 233-2575.
Hurdle is a former Major League Baseball outfielder whose 10-year career was spent with the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. After retiring from playing baseball, Hurdle became a manager. His eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies included leading his 2007 club to the franchise's first National League pennant. On Nov. 14, 2010, Hurdle was hired as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He joined the Colorado Rockies organization in 1994 as the minor league hitting instructor, serving in that capacity until he was named the Rockies' hitting coach in 1997. In 2007, Hurdle managed Colorado to its second best finish in the team's 15-year history (only topped by the 2009 season) by winning 13 out of the last 14 games in order to force a tie-breaker game with the San Diego Padres to determine the winner of the National League Wild Card. Colorado defeated San Diego, reaching the playoffs for only the second time in Rockies history. Hurdle's Rockies then beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the Division Series, sweeping them in three games to force a match-up with their rival Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. The Rockies continued their improbable streak by sweeping Arizona in four games to win the first pennant in team history and reached the 2007 World Series where they lost to the Boston Red Sox.
He was hired as the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers on Nov. 4, 2009. In 2010, Hurdle helped the Rangers to their first American League pennant in franchise history before losing to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series.
After interviewing with both the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets for their vacant managerial positions, Hurdle was hired by the Pirates on Nov. 14, 2010. Hurdle recently agreed to a contract extension, keeping him with the team at least through the 2014 season.
At the 2011 All-Star break, Hurdle had led the Pirates to a 47-43 record, one game out of first place in the NL Central. It was the first time the Pirates had been over .500 going into the All-Star break since winning the 1992 National League East. At the 2012 All-Star break, Hurdle had led the Pirates to a 48-37 record, leading the NL Central division by 1 game over the Cincinnati Reds.
Hurdle is married and has three children.