The next article is a part of a sequence regarding the 2022 Golden Days Period Committee poll, overlaying managers and long-retired gamers whose candidacies might be voted upon on December 5. For an introduction to this 12 months’s poll, see right here, and for an introduction to JAWS, see right here. A number of profiles on this sequence are tailored from work beforehand revealed at, Baseball Prospectus, and Futility Infielder. All WAR figures consult with the Baseball-Reference model until in any other case indicated.

Danny Murtaugh

2022 Golden Period Candidate: Danny Murtaugh

Danny Murtaugh

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

“Danny was only a flat-out good supervisor. He knew the sport, he made choices with guts, he was a high-quality evaluator of expertise, and a great trainer. He had rapport with gamers, young and old alike, and nearly anyone else he got here throughout. his loss of life took a few of the sunshine out of the baseball scene, as a result of he would have been a pressroom star among the many scouts for twenty extra years if he had lived.” — Leonard Koppett, The Man within the Dugout, 1993.

Danny Murtaugh is one in all simply 22 managers to win a number of AL-NL World Collection, solely 4 of whom completed with a profession successful share of .500 or higher and aren’t already within the Corridor of Fame. Because the supervisor of the Pirates for 12 full seasons and three partial ones from 1957 to ’76, he gained a repute as a gamers’ supervisor: laid again in look however stern, good at unifying divided clubhouses and at overseeing the event of youthful gamers. Corridor of Famer Willie Stargell, who debuted with the staff underneath Murtaugh in September 1962 after which had his ups and downs the next season, referred to as him “the proper supervisor” for a rookie breaking in, resulting from his endurance.

Murtaugh oversaw substantial parts of the careers of Stargell and fellow Corridor of Famers Roberto Clemente and Invoice Mazeroski. The latter’s walk-off dwelling run agains the Yankees in Sport 7 of the 1960 World Collection gave him his first championship, and the one-two punch of Clemente and Stargell helped him win his second in 1971. Moreover, Murtaugh managed the Pirates to 3 extra division titles and a complete of 5 seasons of 92 wins or higher.

Ongoing well being issues led to his on-again, off-again function as Pittsburgh’s supervisor. He served 4 separate stints within the dugout, essentially the most with a single staff this facet of Billy Martin and the Yankees, albeit with far much less drama. Every time he stepped away, basic supervisor Joe L. Brown — who shares accountability for the Pirates’ success throughout this period — retained him through a scouting or entrance workplace function with the staff. Murtaugh as soon as stated, “Managing a ballclub is like getting malaria. When you’re bitten by the bug, it’s tough to get it out of your bloodstream.” Simply two months after stepping down following the 1976 season, he suffered a stroke and died at age 59.

Murtaugh was born on October 8, 1917, in a working class Irish neighborhood in Chester, Pennsylvania, a metropolis about midway between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. As a teenager, he performed baseball, basketball, soccer, and soccer; he declined a soccer scholarship to Villanova College as a result of he couldn’t afford textbooks or transportation. As a substitute, he went to work along with his father on the Solar Shipbuilding & Drydock Firm and performed semiprofessional baseball till 1937, when he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals; he truly took a pay lower to take action.

Murtaugh started his profession with the Cambridge (Maryland) Cardinals, one in all 14 Class-D associates in an enormous Department Rickey-built farm system. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound infielder spent 5 years of their chain, enjoying second base, shortstop, and third base, and topped a .300 batting common twice however by no means hit greater than three homers in a season. On June 28, 1941, whereas within the midst of his second season with the Houston Buffaloes, one of many Cardinals’ higher-level associates, he was bought to the basement-dwelling Phillies, who have been en path to a franchise-record 111 losses. The 23-year-old Murtaugh took over the beginning second base job however hit simply .219/.275/.248, although he led the NL in each stolen bases (18) and caught stealing (13).

Murtaugh’s play improved, as did the Phillies; in 1943, he hit .273/.357/.335 (105 OPS+) for a staff that went 64–90 and completed seventh, Philadelphia’s solely season out of the NL basement through the 1938–45 span. Late within the 1943 season, he was inducted into the Military, and he spent the following two years within the infantry, seeing important battle motion in Europe after which being transferred to the occupation forces in Japan. Upon returning, he performed simply six video games for the Phillies earlier than being bought again to the Cardinals and enjoying the remainder of the 1946 season at Triple-A Rochester. He was chosen by the Braves within the Rule 5 draft that December, although he spent all however three video games of the ’47 season at Triple-A Milwaukee.

On November 18, 1947, Murtaugh was traded to the Pirates in a five-player deal. He had his greatest main league season in 1948, hitting for a 94 OPS+ with 3.6 WAR and even putting ninth within the NL MVP voting. However accidents prevented him from constructing upon that season; he performed in simply 270 video games over three extra years, the most effective of them (1950) interrupted by a cranium fracture from a Sal Maglie pitch.

After Murtaugh’s dismal 1951 season, Rickey, who had moved from the Cardinals to the Dodgers to the Pirates, supplied him a job because the player-manager of the Double-A New Orleans Pelicans. Murtaugh spent three seasons there, plus one other at Triple-A Charleston (West Virginia), earlier than Brown, who succeeded Rickey after the 1955 season, supplied him a job as a coach for the Pirates for ’56, throughout which the staff went 66–88, its eighth straight dropping marketing campaign. About two-thirds of the way in which by the 1957 season, Brown fired supervisor Bobby Bragan; after coach Clyde Sukeforth handed on the job, he promoted the 39-year-old Murtaugh to interim supervisor. The staff’s 26–25 document the remainder of the way in which impressed Brown sufficient to take away the interim tag.

In 1958, Murtaugh piloted the Pirates to an 84–70 document, their first successful season in a decade. The 21-year-old Mazeroski and 26-year-old left fielder Bob Skinner made their first All-Star groups, 25-year-old rookie Dick Stuart hit 16 homers in solely 67 video games, and pitcher Roy Face, whom Murtaugh had transformed to a reduction function at New Orleans, emerged as a useful bullpen piece with a league-leading 20 saves. Each the Related Press and United Press Worldwide voted Murtaugh Supervisor of the Yr, the previous overlaying each leagues, the latter simply the NL.

“Quietly and patiently, [Murtaugh] soothed the troubled waters left within the wake of the unstable Bobby Bragan,” wrote Sports activities Illustrated’s Roy Terrell within the March 16, 1959 problem. “With Danny, if a younger participant made a mistake, it was not the tip of the world, it was only a mistake; exit and do higher subsequent time. If a participant did nicely, he was advised so. If he wanted work on some deficiency, he was inspired to work and given the chance.”

“I immediately felt as if an elephant had simply climbed down off my shoulders,” Mazeroski advised SI.

The Pirates slipped to 78–76 in 1959, however with the 25-year-old Clemente breaking out to earn All-Star honors for the primary time and Vern Regulation placing collectively a Cy Younger-wining season, Pittsburgh took over a share of first place on Could 29 in ’60 and by no means left the highest spot, successful the pennant by seven video games with a 95–59 document. Although the Pirates have been on the fallacious finish of three lopsided video games within the World Collection towards the Yankees, they received 4 shut ones, three of them began by Regulation. Within the see-saw Sport 7, they took an early 4–0 lead, allowed seven runs within the fifth by eighth innings as Regulation and Face faltered, and climbed again on prime by rallying for 5 eighth-inning runs. The Yankees tied the sport within the prime of the ninth, however within the backside of the body, Mazeroski hit Ralph Terry’s second pitch over the left subject wall, delivering the Pirates their first championship since 1925.

Once more Murtaugh was the AP Supervisor of the Yr (this time, it was given out in every league), however the award and the championship turned out to be robust acts to comply with. The Pirates completed under .500 in three of the following 4 seasons, with a 93–68, fourth-place end in 1962 the one constructive displaying. Murtaugh, who within the spring of 1962 was hospitalized for a couple of days resulting from a coronary heart situation, resigned on the finish of the ’64 season, citing well being considerations together with bouts of chest pains, in addition to the pressures of the job. He remained employed by the staff, working as a scout and advisor to Brown. “Scouting is the golf tour of baseball,” he stated. “Simple touring, out within the solar, actual pleasurable.”

Over the following 5 seasons, Murtaugh stayed away from the dugout save for the second half of 1967, when he guided the staff to a 39–39 document after Harry Walker, who had beforehand helmed seasons of 90 and 92 wins, was fired. The transfer was solely supposed to be short-term; Brown named Murtaugh director of participant acquisition and improvement at season’s finish, and shortly employed Larry Shepard, then the Phillies’ pitching coach however beforehand the Pirates’ Triple-A supervisor, to take the reins. Shepard lasted simply two seasons, although in the second the Pirates received 88 video games. After assembly with Brown to debate potential successors, Murtaugh put himself up as a candidate and was supplied the job as long as his spouse and physician have been on board (they have been).

Now enjoying within the NL East and, as of July 16, Three Rivers Stadium as a substitute of Forbes Discipline, the Pirates went 89–73 and received the division in 1970, with Clemente, Stargell, catcher Manny Sanguillen, and first baseman Bob Robertson all having large seasons — after they have been accessible. Murtaugh needed to handle round quite a few accidents.

On that topic, Murtaugh had clashed with Clemente throughout his earlier stints, believing his star to be a hypochondriac, a prevalent notion through the Corridor of Famer’s profession provided that he not often suffered in silence. Murtaugh conceded that the 2 hadn’t been “bosom buddies” prior to now “however by no means have our clashes of persona affected Clemente’s enjoying in any respect,” he advised a tv reporter in 1970. Murtaugh identified that on his watch, the nice proper fielder had received three batting titles, including, “I’ve been making an attempt to determine a solution to get eight different guys mad at me so we are able to presumably have eight extra batting champions.”

Elsewhere, Murtaugh stated of Clemente, “He’s the most effective ballplayer I’ve ever seen. I’m sufficiently old and I feel sensible sufficient to get together with anyone on our ballclub — particularly if he’s a .350 hitter.” Clemente hit 352/.407/.556 in 108 video games that 12 months. As Bruce Markesun, writer of The Crew That Modified Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, wrote:

[B]y the tip of the 1970 season, Murtaugh and Clemente had developed a peaceable coexistence. Although nonetheless not shut buddies, the 2 males got here to know one another’s significance. Murtaugh acknowledged Clemente because the chief of the clubhouse, a realization that made the supervisor’s job simpler. He started to speak in confidence to Clemente, understanding that Roberto may cross alongside vital messages to the remainder of the gamers.

Within the 1970 NLCS, the Pirates have been swept by the 102-win Reds, however the next 12 months, a stronger Pittsburgh staff received 97 video games and one other NL East title. Murtaugh, nonetheless, was not stronger, lacking over two weeks in late Could and early June resulting from chest pains.

On September 1, 1971, Murtaugh and the Pirates made historical past, as they fielded an all-Black or all-minority lineup for the primary time within the AL or NL annals:

Pirates’ All-Black Lineup, September 1, 1970

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

Whereas Ellis struggled early, getting charged with 5 runs whereas recording solely 4 outs, the Pirates went 6-for-7 towards Phillies starter Woodie Fryman, plating 5 first-inning runs, taking an 8–6 lead after two innings, and successful 10–7.

“Relating to making out the lineup, I’m colorblind,” Murtaugh advised reporters afterwards. “And my athletes understand it. They don’t understand it as a result of I advised them, however they understand it as a result of they’re accustomed to the way in which I function. The most effective males in our group are those who’re right here. And those who’re right here all play, relying on when the circumstances current themselves.”

Apparently sufficient, Murtaugh had truly tried to subject an all-minority lineup throughout his first stint with Pittsburgh. In 1964, as they headed north from spring coaching in Florida, the Pirates and Phillies performed an exhibition sport in Asheville, North Carolina, and Murtaugh wrote out a lineup and not using a single white participant. Earlier than the sport, the supervisor acquired right into a confrontation with a consultant from the native Chamber of Commerce. As Dick Allen, then a rookie with the Phillies, later recounted, “I can nonetheless see tobacco juice flyin’ out of Danny’s mouth and goin’ throughout this man’s shirt. What Danny had executed was, he’d penciled in an all-minority lineup. And the man from the Chamber of Commerce was on the market to inform him he couldn’t do this.”

In that occasion, Murtaugh bowed to the strain by beginning Mazeroski however gave him only one plate look; historical past must wait. Nonetheless, the staff’s success through the Sixties and ’70s owed a complete lot to Brown’s willingness to signal Black and Hispanic gamers and Murtaugh’s means to handle them. Clemente, Stargell, Sanguillen, Oliver, Money, Ellis, and later Dave Parker and John Candelaria all had their first sustained main league success underneath the supervisor.

The 1971 Pirates received the NL East by seven video games, then beat the Giants in a four-game NLCS. Going through the defending champion Orioles within the World Collection, they dropped the primary two video games in Baltimore, received three straight in Pittsburgh, and missed an opportunity to clinch because the Orioles chipped away at a 2–0 lead in Sport 6 and ultimately received in 10 innings. With Steve Blass spinning a complete-game four-hitter, Clemente hitting a solo homer to drive within the first of Pittsburgh’s two runs, and Stargell, who had been moved right down to sixth within the order, singling and coming round to attain the second run, the Pirates received Sport 7, 2–1. Clemente, who hit .414/.452/.759 for the sequence, was its MVP. Murtaugh once more was the AP NL Supervisor of the Yr.

Once more citing well being considerations, Murtaugh stepped down from managing to return to a scouting function, with hitting coach Invoice Virdon taking on as supervisor. The staff received 96 video games and the NL East in 1972, however after the season, on December 31, Clemente was killed in a aircraft crash whereas delivering humanitarian support to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. Even with rookie proper fielder Richie Zisk enjoying nicely whereas filling Clemente’s spot within the lineup, the staff was simply 67–69 when Brown requested Murtaugh to return to managing, well being and household allowing; rumors that the Astros sought to rent him might have spurred the transfer.

The Pirates have been three video games behind the Cardinals within the NL East when Murtaugh took over, and so they truly moved into first place with only a 71–71 document on September 12; they occupied that spot till September 20, when a four-game dropping streak towards the Mets knocked them again. They have been nonetheless simply half a sport behind the Mets with 5 video games to go however went 1–4 and completed 80–82, 2 1/2 video games behind the 83–78 Mets within the NL East. Had the transfer been made sooner, it’s not unattainable that the Pirates may have overtaken them.

Murtaugh’s squad received 88 video games and one other NL East title in 1974 however fell to the 102-win Dodgers within the NLCS. With Parker rising as a star in 1975, the staff went 92–69 however was swept by the 108-win Reds within the NLCS. The Pirates received 92 video games once more the next 12 months however completed second because the Phillies took the division with 101 wins. Close to the tip of the season, Murtaugh once more introduced his retirement, simply days after Brown had executed the identical. Noting that he’d beeen sick “extra instances than anyone realized,” the supervisor once more cited well being as the principle purpose for stepping down, including, “I feel it’s time for a youthful man to take over. The Pirates’ failure to win this 12 months didn’t affect my determination.”

Murtaugh deliberate to spend time with household, together with his 5 grandchildren, in addition to performing some scouting for the Pirates. However simply two months after retiring, he was felled by a stroke. The Pirates, who had already traded Sanguillen and $100,000 to Oakland for the best to rent Chuck Tanner to handle, retired Murtaugh’s no. 40 jersey on Opening Day of the 1977 season.


Through the analysis of Graham Womack, it took twenty years after his loss of life for Murtaugh to attract critical consideration for the Corridor of Fame; not till 1996 was he thought-about by the Veterans Committee, which elected Earl Weaver, his counterpart within the ’71 World Collection. He obtained “robust consideration” two years later however didn’t make the lower for one more poll till 2008, when he polled 37.5% on the VC’s managers and umpires poll, on which Billy Southworth and Dick Williams have been elected. Two years later, he obtained 50% of the vote when Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey have been elected. That is his first look on an Period Committee poll.

Murtaugh’s strongest declare on election, as famous above, is his two World Collection wins, making him one in all simply 22 managers with such a declare. Past him, six of these managers are outdoors the Corridor: Bruce Bochy, Invoice Carrigan, Terry Francona, Cito Gaston, Ralph Houk, and Tom Kelly. Bochy, the one one of many group to win three championships, will most likely be elected subsequent 12 months through the Immediately’s Sport poll regardless of a profession successful share of .497, encumbered by a protracted stretch of dismal Padres groups. Francona, with a .540 successful share, an extra pennant, and a complete of 10 playoff appearances, is nearly actually headed in that course as soon as he retires. Carrigan, who received two with the Purple Sox in 1915 and ’16 however managed solely seven seasons, and Kelly, who received with the Twins in 1987 and ’91, each completed with profession successful percentages under .500.

That leaves Houk and Gaston. The previous, with a .514 successful share, inherited the Yankees staff felled by Mazeroski, one which had simply received 5 pennants and three championships in Casey Stengel’s remaining six seasons. Houk received back-to-back World Collection in 1961 and ’62, plus a pennant in ’63, however he by no means returned to the playoffs in 17 further seasons as supervisor. Gaston, with a .516 successful share, led the Blue Jays to 4 AL East titles and back-to-back World Collection wins in 1992 and ’93 however managed simply eight full seasons and 4 partial ones, although in one of many latter, he missed 33 video games resulting from again surgical procedure, returning in time to information Toronto to the playoffs.

Leaving Francona out of this as a result of he’s nonetheless going, Murtaugh’s .540 successful share is larger than any of the eligible two-time winners, and regardless of a profession consisting of solely 2,068 regular-season video games, his 165 video games above .500 is the best of the group as nicely. The issue is that managers with careers of his size are largely outdoors the Corridor. Of the 22 elected for his or her managerial careers, solely Southworth has fewer video games (1,770), and he has a .597 successful share (340 video games above .500), 4 pennants and two championships. The following-closest Corridor of Fame supervisor is Frank Selee, who led the Boston Beaneaters to 5 pennants within the Nineties. He managed for two,180 video games with a .598 successful share and 22 video games above .500. Murtaugh doesn’t measure as much as both.

That stated, Murtaugh’s 165 video games above .500 are greater than Corridor of Famers Tommy Lasorda (160), Herzog (156), Ned Hanlon (149), Clark Griffith (124), and Williams (120). Lasorda and Williams each received two World Collection plus two further pennants, Herzog one World Collection plus two further pennants, Hanlon 5 pennants within the Nineties, and Griffith, who has further credentials as an excellent pitcher and government, only one pennant. Murtaugh isn’t misplaced amongst that group, even along with his brief profession. Whereas his credentials would have been bolstered by one other pennant, it ought to depend for one thing that his groups have been underdogs in each World Collection he received; the truth is, solely within the 1971 NLCS towards the Giants did the Pirates have extra regular-season wins than their opponents.

I don’t suppose he’s something near a slam-dunk, however Murtaugh’s credentials slot in solidly with these of Corridor of Fame managers. He was fairly persistently profitable, significantly throughout his third and fourth stints, when his groups received at a .564 clip (91 wins per 162 video games) and captured 4 division titles plus a second-place end in his 5 full seasons. He may nicely have added at the least yet one more division title in that stretch provided that Virdon received in 1972, and it’s not out of the query that Murtaugh’s Pirates may have received the NL East in ’73 had the transfer to switch Virdon been made earlier, although they did have their shot even along with his late return, and it slipped away. The staff did proceed to contend after Murtaugh’s remaining retirement and loss of life, successful 96 video games in 1977 and ’78 plus one other World Collection in ’79, with Stargell, Sanguillen (who was traded again in early ’78), and Bruce Kison, who threw 11 shutout innings within the ’71 postseason, all nonetheless on board. However whereas it’s compelling to marvel how way more success Murtaugh might need had if he’d been wholesome sufficient to remain within the dugout, this isn’t a Gil Hodges case, the place one crowning achievement as supervisor is accompanied by a tragic early demise and a complete lot of what-ifs. (Leaving apart, that’s, that Hodges was a much better participant than Murtaugh, placing his Corridor of Fame case in a special realm, the place managing is a bonus atop his enjoying profession.)

If I had a poll, I’d tab Murtaugh over Hodges on the power of his managerial work — the wins and the participant improvement, which is a crucial side of his legacy — and slot him alongside Minnie Miñoso, Dick Allen, and Ken Boyer to fill out my Golden Period poll. With so many compelling candidates, together with the still-living near-misses Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, I’d not be in any respect shocked if Murtaugh will get misplaced within the shuffle when the committee votes on December 5, however I feel he deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.

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