Hurdle reminisces on Opening Day

Prior to making his Pittsburgh managerial debut with an afternoon affair at Wrigley Field, Clint Hurdle was asked about Opening Days past. He shared two memories with the gathered media, beginning with his first Opening Day as a player:

“It was in Cleveland in front of 70,000 people, followed up by about 12,000 the next day. It was freezing. I don’t even remember how I did. I don’t know if it was 0-for-4 or 1-for-4, but the one nugget of wisdom I got came when I was standing up for the National Anthem. [George] Brett looked me in the eye and said, ‘Let’s get four hits today.’ I was nervous and I was thinking, ‘That’s such a nice thing to say.’ I looked at him and said, ‘OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ll get three, you get one.’ I don’t know if I held up my end of the deal or not. He probably held up his.”

Truth be told, the box score shows that Hurdle went 0-for-4 and Brett finished 1-for-3 in an 8-5 loss to the Indians.

As for Hurdle’s most memorable Opening Day — that came in 2005, when the Rockies scored four times in the ninth to steal a 12-10 win over the Padres. The game was capped by Clint Barmes’ two-out, two-run homer off Trevor Hoffman.

“It was a young club,” Hurdle said. “It was a very exciting day. That would have been one of my favorites.” He then added: “This one is going to be significant. I’m really looking forward to this one. Being a part of the Pirate family, representing the Pirate organization, opening the 2011 season at Wrigley Field, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

— Jenifer Langosch

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