Danny Murtaugh

Last updated
Danny Murtaugh
Danny Murtaugh 1960s.jpg
Second baseman / Manager
Born:(1917-10-08)October 8, 1917
Chester, Pennsylvania
Died: December 2, 1976(1976-12-02) (aged 59)
Chester, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 3, 1941, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
September 6, 1951, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average .254
Home runs 8
Runs batted in 219
Managerial record1,115–950
Winning %.540
As player
As manager
As coach
Career highlights and awards

Daniel Edward Murtaugh (October 8, 1917 – December 2, 1976) was an American second baseman, manager, front-office executive, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB). Murtaugh is best known for his 29-year association with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he won two World Series as field manager (in 1960 and 1971). He also played 416 of his 767 career MLB games with the Pirates as their second baseman.


Life and career

As player

Murtaugh appeared in all or parts of nine big-league seasons, initially for the Philadelphia Phillies (1941–43, 1946) and Boston Braves (1947) before joining the Pirates (1948–51). He threw and batted right-handed and was listed as 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and 165 pounds (75 kg).

Murtaugh's 1949 Bowman Gum baseball card Danny Murtaugh 1949 Bowman.jpg
Murtaugh's 1949 Bowman Gum baseball card

A native of Chester, Pennsylvania, Murtaugh was working with his father at Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. after he graduated from Chester High School when he took a pay cut to start his professional baseball career at age 19 in 1937. After signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, he joined the Redbirds' extensive farm system, initially as a member of the Cambridge (Maryland) Cardinals of the Class D Eastern Shore League. In June 1941, in the midst of Murtaugh's second consecutive stellar season with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League, the Phillies purchased his contract; he then made his MLB debut on July 3 as a defensive replacement for Hal Marnie against Boston at Braves Field. [1] The following day he started both ends of a July 4 doubleheader and essentially took over as the Phils' regular second baseman.

As a rookie, Murtaugh led the National League in stolen bases with 18, even though he played only 85 games after his acquisition from Houston in late June. In 1942–43 he got into 257 games before joining the United States Army in August 1943 for World War II service. He declined the opportunity to play baseball in the United States and served in combat with the 97th Infantry in Germany. [2]

Returning to baseball in 1946, he played in only six games for Philadelphia before he was sold back to the Cardinals' organization. At Triple-A Rochester, Murtaugh hit .322 and his 174 hits were tied for first in the International League. The Braves then selected him in the 1946 Rule 5 draft, but Murtaugh played in only three early-season games for them before he was again sent to Triple-A. At 29, he had another good offensive season, hitting .302 for Milwaukee. Although his performance did not earn Murtaugh a return to the Braves, it led to perhaps his biggest break when, on November 18, Boston included him in a five-player trade to the Pirates, where he spent the rest of his big-league career.

His most productive season came in his first year with the Bucs, 1948, when he hit .290 and posted career highs in hits (149), runs batted in (71), runs scored (56), doubles (21), triples (5) and games played (146). He started a career-high 145 games as the Pirates' second baseman. After a poor 1949, Murtaugh rebounded by hitting a personal-best .294 in 1950. Overall, Murtaugh was a .254 career lifetime batter with 661 hits, eight home runs and 219 RBI in 767 games.

As manager

After retiring as a player, Murtaugh managed the New Orleans Pelicans (1952–54), the Pirates' Double-A farm club, and the unaffiliated Triple-A Charleston Senators (April 19–July 16, 1955). In 1956 he returned to the Pirates as a coach under Bobby Bragan. In his second year in the job, on August 4, 1957, he succeeded Bragan as skipper with the Bucs 36–67 and one game out of last place; under Murtaugh, they perked up to win 26 of their final 51 games. In his first full season, 1958, Murtaugh led the Pirates to a surprise second-place finish in the National League. He went on to hold the Pittsburgh job for all or parts of 15 seasons over four different terms (1957–64, 1967, 1970–71, 1973–76).

In 1960, his third full season as their manager, Murtaugh guided the Bucs to the first of the two World Series championships they won under his command. After they won the National League pennant by seven full games over the Braves, they stunned the heavy-hitting New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series—won in Pittsburgh's last at bat by Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the ninth inning of Game 7. The Yankees outscored Pittsburgh 55–27, and administered three thrashings (16–3, 10–0 and 12–0), but the resilient Pirates took the other four contests by a run differential of only +7 (6–4, 3–2, 5–2 and 10–9).

Murtaugh, circa 1964 Danny Murtaugh 1964.jpg
Murtaugh, circa 1964

From 1961–64, his Pirates had only one over-.500 season and, after the conclusion of the 1964 campaign, Murtaugh stepped down as manager just before his 47th birthday. He had been battling health problems, sometimes reported as a heart ailment. [3] He moved up to the Pirate front office as a key assistant in charge of evaluating players for general manager Joe L. Brown. After the 1965 season, he turned down feelers from the Boston Red Sox to join their organization as vice president, player personnel. Then, in 1967, when his immediate successor as the Pirates' manager, Harry Walker, was fired July 17, Murtaugh returned as interim pilot for the remainder of the 1967 season, after which he returned to the front office.

Well aware of the abundance of talent in the Pittsburgh system, Murtaugh asked to reclaim the managing job after Larry Shepard was fired in the last week of the 1969 season. Once medically cleared, he became skipper of the Pirates once again. (Only hours after this re-hiring on October 9, Don Hoak, his third baseman on the 1960 World Series champion Pirates and a manager in the Pirates' farm system in 1969, died of a heart attack after believing he was a leading contender to manage the parent club.) His first two clubs won the 1970–71 National League East Division titles. Although the 1970 squad fell in that season's National League Championship Series to the Cincinnati Reds, Murtaugh's 1971 Pirates defeated the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS and then captured the 1971 World Series with a memorable comeback from a two-games-to-none deficit against the favored Baltimore Orioles. That World Series was marked by the brilliant performance of future Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who batted .414 with 12 hits to lead his team to the championship.

Citing renewed health concerns — he had been hospitalized for chest pain during the 1971 season [3] — Murtaugh again resigned as manager after the world title. He moved back into the Pittsburgh front office, and his hand-picked successor, Bill Virdon (center fielder for his 1960 champions), took over for the 1972 campaign. (As the manager of the 1971 pennant winner, Murtaugh did manage the National League team in the 1972 All-Star game in Atlanta.) When Brown fired Virdon on September 5 of 1973, Murtaugh reluctantly returned to managing and stayed through the 1976 season, winning NL East titles in 1974 and 1975 but falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Reds in the NLCS in successive years. After a second-place finish in 1976, both Murtaugh and Brown announced their retirements during the final week of the season. Just two months after his retirement, Murtaugh died in Chester from a stroke at age 59. The number 40 he wore as the Bucs' manager was retired by the Pirates on April 7, 1977.

Murtaugh was a two-time winner (1960 and 1971) of The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award. He compiled a 1,115–950 record in 2,068 games (.540), [4] second in Pirates history behind only Fred Clarke. In addition to his two National League pennants and world championships, he won four Eastern Division titles (1970–71, 1974–75), and no Pirates manager has won more division titles in a tenure since his death. In twelve full seasons as manager, he led the Pirates to a winning record nine times. On September 1, 1971, Murtaugh was the first manager in major league history to field a starting lineup consisting of nine black players (African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans). The Pirates beat the Phillies 10–7 in that game.

Managerial record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GamesWonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
PIT 1957 512625.5107th in NL
PIT 1958 1548470.5452nd in NL
PIT 1959 1557876.5064th in NL
PIT 1960 1559559.6171st in NL43.571Won World Series (NYY)
PIT 1961 1547579.4876th in NL
PIT 1962 1619368.5784th in NL
PIT 1963 1627488.4578th in NL
PIT 1964 1628082.4946th in NL
PIT 1967 793939.5006th in NL
PIT 1970 1628973.5491st in NL East03.000Lost NLCS (CIN)
PIT 1971 1629765.5991st in NL East74.636Won World Series (BAL)
PIT 1973 261313.5003rd in NL East
PIT 1974 1628874.5431st in NL East13.250Lost NLCS (LAD)
PIT 1975 1619269.5711st in NL East03.000Lost NLCS (CIN)
PIT 1976 1629270.5682nd in NL East
Total [4] 2,068 [lower-alpha 1] 1115950.5401216.429


Pirates 40.png
Danny Murtaugh's number 40 was retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pie Traynor American baseball player, broadcaster, and manager

Harold Joseph "Pie" Traynor was an American professional baseball player, manager, scout and radio broadcaster. He played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career (1920–1937) as a third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1948.

Bill Mazeroski American baseball player and coach

William Stanley Mazeroski is an American former baseball second baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1972. He is most remembered for hitting one of the most iconic home runs in major league history, a dramatic ninth-inning blast in Game 7 that beat the heavily favored New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series. It was the first walk-off home run to win a World Series, and remains the only walk-off home run in a seventh game. ESPN ranked the World Series winner at the top of its list of 100 Greatest Home Runs of All Time, while Sports Illustrated had it eighth on its compilation of 100 Greatest Moments in Sports History. He received the Babe Ruth Award for his World Series performance.

The 1960 World Series was played between the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League (NL) and the New York Yankees of the American League (AL) from October 5–13, 1960. In Game 7, Bill Mazeroski hit the series winning ninth-inning home run, the only time a winner-take-all World Series game ended with a home run, and the first World Series to end on a home run, followed by 1993, which ended on a home run hit by Joe Carter in Game 6.

The 1971 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1971 season. The 68th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the defending World Series and American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles and the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates won in seven games. Game 4 in Pittsburgh was the first World Series game played at night.

Rennie Stennett Panamanian baseball player

Reinaldo Antonio Stennett Porte was a Panamanian professional baseball second baseman, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1971–79) and San Francisco Giants (1980–81). He batted and threw right-handed. A World Series champion with the Pirates in 1979, Stennett is one of two players to collect seven hits in a nine-inning game, which he did in a 22–0 victory over the Chicago Cubs, in 1975. Stennett was also a member of the first all-Black and Latino starting lineup in big league history.

Mickey Vernon American baseball player and manager

James Barton "Mickey" Vernon was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman who played for the Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox (1956–1957), Milwaukee Braves (1959), and Pittsburgh Pirates (1960). He also was the first manager in the history of the expansion edition of the Senators, serving from 1961 through May 21, 1963, and was a coach for four MLB teams between 1960 and 1982.

Harry Walker American baseball player and manager

Harry William Walker was an American professional baseball player, coach and manager. Known by the nickname "Harry the Hat", he played as a center fielder in Major League Baseball between 1940 and 1955, most notably as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals with whom he won two world championships and was the 1947 National League batting champion.

Fred Haney American baseball player, manager, and executive

Fred Girard Haney was an American third baseman, manager, coach and executive in Major League Baseball (MLB). As a manager, he won two pennants and a world championship with the Milwaukee Braves. He later served as the first general manager of the expansion Los Angeles Angels in the American League. For years, Haney was one of the most popular baseball figures in Los Angeles. In 1974 he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball.

Bill Virdon American baseball player and manager

William Charles Virdon is an American former professional baseball outfielder, manager, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB). Virdon played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1965 and in 1968. He served as a coach for the Pirates and Houston Astros, and managed the Pirates, Astros, New York Yankees, and Montreal Expos.

Don Hoak American baseball player

Donald Albert Hoak, nicknamed "Tiger", was an American professional baseball third baseman and coach. He played eleven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) (1954–1964) for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Redlegs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Chuck Tanner American baseball player and manager

Charles William Tanner was an American professional baseball player and manager. A left fielder and pinch hitter who appeared in 396 games in Major League Baseball between 1955 and 1962, he was known for his unwavering confidence and infectious optimism. As a manager for all or parts of 19 seasons, he led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979. He last served as a senior adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

Bill Robinson (outfielder) American baseball player

William Henry Robinson, Jr. was an American professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1966 to 1983, for several teams. He also played some first and third base. Robinson batted and threw right-handed.

Bob Robertson American baseball player

Robert Eugene "Bob" Robertson is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman between 1967 and 1979, most notably as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates teams that won five National League Eastern Division titles in six years between 1970 and 1975 and, won the World Series in 1971. He also played for the Seattle Mariners (1978) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1979). He missed the entire 1968 season due to a kidney obstruction.

The following is a history of the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.

Joe L. Brown

Joe LeRoy Brown was an American front office executive in Major League Baseball.

The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the team's 79th season. The team finished with a record of 95–59–1, seven games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves to win their first National League championship in 33 seasons. The team went on to play the heavily favored New York Yankees, whom they defeated 4 games to 3 in one of the most storied World Series ever.

The 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 91st season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 86th in the National League. The defending World Series champion Pirates finished first in the National League East with an MLB-best record of 96–59. The team was defeated three games to two by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 National League Championship Series. Despite losing the series, the Pirates put up a good fight, unlike the last time the two teams met in the playoffs. In game 5, the Pirates led 3-2 in the 9th inning, and were 3 outs away from pulling off a major upset over the Reds. All looked good until the Pirates collapsed in the 9th inning and allowed 2 runs to score, with the walkoff run coming on a wild pitch.

Frank John Oceak was an American professional baseball player and coach. He was an infielder and manager in minor league baseball and served as a coach in Major League Baseball for 11 seasons between 1958 and 1972. A trusted confidant of four-time Pittsburgh Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, Oceak was coaching at third base on October 13, 1960, during Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, when Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit his dramatic walk-off home run to clinch the Series against the New York Yankees. Oceak, wearing uniform #44, can be seen in many of the films and still photos of the historic event, celebrating with Mazeroski as he rounds third base and following him to home plate.

Phillies–Pirates rivalry Major League Baseball in-state rivalry in Pennsylvania

The Phillies–Pirates rivalry is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. Both clubs are members of MLB's National League (NL); the Phillies are members of the NL East division, while the Pirates are members of the NL Central division. The rivalry was considered by some to be one of the best in the NL. The rivalry started when the Pittsburgh Pirates entered NL play in their fifth season of 1887, four years after the Phillies.


  1. Retrosheet box score: 1941-07-03
  2. "Danny Murtaugh". sabr.org. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  3. 1 2 The Associated Press (December 2, 1976). "Danny Murtaugh is Dead at 59; Won 2 Series as Pirate Manager". The New York Times . Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  4. 1 2 "Danny Murtaugh". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 3, 2015.


  1. Murtaugh also managed in three games that ended in a tie