Could John Russell be the next former Pirates manager headed to the playoffs? Every manager since Chuck Tanner has left Pittsburgh and been involved in post-season play.
First it was Jim Leyland winning a World Series title in Florida and an American League pennant in Detroit. Leyland led the Bucs to 3 division titles, but only 4 winning seasons out of 11.
Gene Lamont nearly led the Pirates to the post-season in 1997 as the Bucs finished 2nd. Lamont joined Leyland in Detroit in 2006 and is a part of the coaching staff to lead the Tigers to a .524 winning percentage. Lamont lost 352 games in 4 years with the Pirates.
The man who followed Lamont, the fiery Lloyd McClendon joined Lamont and Leyland to help Detroit win the AL title, he lost 446 games in nearly five years as the Bucs skipper.
Then there is Jim Tracy, the man who was nearly laughed out of town as being a complete baseball idiot. Current Pirates manager Clint Hurdle hired him as his bench coach in 2009, Hurdle was fired after starting the season 18-28. Tracy took over and guided the team to the National League Championship Series and was named National League Manager of the League by the Sporting News and the Baseball Writers Association of American. Tracy lost 189 games in 2 seasons with the Pirates.
Now, lifeless John Russell (who I endorsed for the manager because he was known for being a great fundamentals teacher) is with a winner. Russell is Buck Showalter’s third base coach in Baltimore as they are off to a 6-3 start and leading the American League East. This after Russell lost 299 games in 3 seasons with the Pirates.
Remember this if the season would go south for Clint Hurdle.
Even Bud Abbott could figure out the problem with the Pirates is not making out the lineup card.
By Jeff Hathhorn