Hurdle returning to Rox as special assistant

December 9th, 2021

DENVER -- Clint Hurdle, who managed the Rockies to the 2007 World Series, is returning to the organization as a special assistant to the general manager with an emphasis on player development, the club confirmed Thursday.

Tracy Ringolsby of first reported the move, which has been long in the works. After Greg Feasel was installed as club president and Bill Schmidt as general manager (originally on an interim basis) in late April, the Rockies and Hurdle discussed his return to the organization and what form it would take.

"I've asked him to help us -- not only the players in the Minor Leagues, but also the staff," Schmidt said. "I think he can bring a lot to the table for everybody and help me just, you know, help get us where we want to get going.

"I mean, he's Clint, right? He's upbeat. He has a lot of history with the Rockies back to when he first started and with the people who got involved. He can help us get better. That's why I asked. I was very happy that he wanted to join us, just helping people grow."

Hurdle announced his retirement from baseball after his nine-year term as Pirates manager ended at the end of the 2019 season. However, many longtime members of the organization pushed for his return in some capacity.

The hiring, which becomes official Jan. 1, allows the Rockies to improve in some needed areas.

For Hurdle, 64, it's more than a return to the club he once managed to its greatest moment. It's a return home. Hurdle originally joined the Rockies in 1994 as a Minor League hitting coach before becoming manager Don Baylor's hitting coach in 1997. Hurdle stayed with the club when Buddy Bell took over as manager after the 1999 season, and the club promoted him to manager to replace Bell as manager on April 26, 2002.

The Rockies, then led by club president Keli McGregor and general manager Dan O'Dowd, immediately decided to reset after determining that the celebrated free-agent signings of pitchers Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle had pushed the club in the wrong direction.

The long and painful rebuild is the key reason Hurdle's Rockies teams posted just a .461 winning percentage in 1,159 games between his hiring and his departure in April 2009. However, the plan culminated in the '07 season, when the Rockies won 21 of 22 regular-season and postseason games to reach the World Series. The run included a Game 163 victory over the Padres, followed by sweeps of the Phillies and the D-backs in the National League playoffs. The Red Sox took the Fall Classic in a sweep.

After the Rockies replaced him with Jim Tracy during the 2009 season, Hurdle served as hitting coach for the Rangers as that team made the 2010 World Series, then he managed the Pirates to a .505 winning percentage and postseason appearances in 2013-15. The Pirates' previous postseason trip was in 1992.