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Hurdle has connection with both WS teams

Bucs' skipper developed by Royals, managed in Mets' Minor League system after playing for club

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a unique connection to both sides of the 111th World Series.

On one side are the Royals, who drafted and developed Hurdle into a Major Leaguer. On the other side are the Mets, with whom Hurdle spent nine years of his professional career.

The Fall Classic was slated to begin Tuesday night with Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium, and Hurdle is set to follow along.

"Excited for both organizations," Hurdle said. "Excited for Major League Baseball. I love it when teams are able to push through things and really earn their way. Both these teams have earned their way. They're the best two teams in baseball playing each other right now."

The Royals selected Hurdle in the first round of the 1975 Draft. He made his big league debut for the Royals in 1977 and was a part of the 1980 Kansas City squad that reached the World Series after losing to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series each year from 1976-78.

"I feel a special connection to both," Hurdle said. "I think your first organization's kind of like your first girlfriend. It's memorable in a lot of different ways. I was fortunate, as I've been in many organizations, to be involved with the Royals when they were on an upswing.

"The fanbase there was incredible. People were coming from everywhere. It was a small town that went big time. It was a fantastic experience."

Hurdle spent parts of three seasons playing for the Mets before managing in New York's Minor League system for six years. He was one of the leading candidates for the Mets' managerial job following the 2010 season and interviewed with general manager Sandy Alderson.

Hurdle was named the Pirates' manager about a week before Terry Collins became the Mets' skipper.

"There's still people there I know," Hurdle said. "There's still people there that I'm happy for. Love the fact both these organizations have worked very hard to make their way, to earn their way. To watch what they've done in the postseason, the brand of baseball they've played, is just great for the game."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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