Former Pirates outfielder, long-time MLB manager Bill Virdon dead at 90

·3 min read
Bill Virdon as the Yankees' manager.
Bill Virdon (middle) managed the Yankees for one and a half seasons. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder and long-time MLB manager Bill Virdon died Tuesday. He was 90.

Virdon spent 12 seasons in the majors, the majority of which came with the Pirates. He debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955, and took home the Rookie of the Year award after hitting .281/.322/.433, with 17 home runs. 

Virdon got off to a rough start during his second season, and was traded to the Pirates in May. He immediately took to Pittsburgh, slashing .334/.374/.462 in his first 133 games with the team. Virdon spent the rest of his playing career with the Pirates. He finished his career with a .266/.316/.379 slash line and 91 home runs. Virdon also took home a Gold Glove award during the 1962 season.

He retired from the game in 1965 with the intention of becoming a major-league manager. Virdon worked his way up to the Pirates' coaching staff in 1968. He also played six games with the team that season.

Former Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen paid tribute to Virdon, reminiscing about seeing him at spring training every year.

Bill Virdon managed Pirates, Yankees and Astros

In 1972, the Pirates hired Virdon as the team's manager. He led the team to a first-place finish in the NL East division, but came up short in National League Championship Series. He spent another year managing the Pirates before he was picked up by the New York Yankees in 1974. 

Virdon spent a season and a half managing the Yankees. He posted a 142-124 record with the team before he was fired during the 1975 season. Virdon was immediately picked up by the Houston Astros, and remained the team's manager through 1982. He is still the franchise's leader in wins.

Virdon managed the Montreal Expos in 1983 and 1984. He compiled a 995-921 record over 13 seasons as a major-league manager. Virdon remained on coaching staffs around the league until 2002. 

Following his retirement from coaching, Virdon still remained a vital member of the Pirates. He appeared as an outfield instructor with the team during spring training as recently as 2013, when he was 81 years old. 

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