Up next in my rewind tour of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ managers is the short-tenured stint of Jim Tracy. Hired at the end of the 2005 season by Dave Littlefield, Tracy had great success as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers between 2001 and 2005, producing four winning seasons and an NL West title before departing the organization under strained circumstances.
Tracy seemed to be a fitting hire for a Pirates’ organization that had struggled to remain relevant for over a decade and just several years into playing in their new ballpark. His highly-touted personality of patience however seemed to become more of a negative than a positive for a team that seemed to lack passion and motivation as well as talent. Tracy was a well-respected leader in the clubhouse undoubtedly, but players seemed to grow too accustomed to his more laid-back approach that lacked any kind of fire or urge to rise above the miserable status quo that the Buccos had set for so many years at that point.
Tracy was just one part of a management shakeup akin to the one the Pirates just went through; Tracy was fired at the end of the 2007 season by new general manger Neal Huntington who had recently replaced Dave Littlefield. That fall also marked the beginning of former president Frank Coonelly’s tenure with the team. Numerous coaches and front office staff were also let go as Huntington cited the organization’s fatal inability to accurately identify and develop talent (pretty eerie considering current general manager Ben Cherington’s similar comments about Huntington’s regime).
Yet again, Tracy was another manager in the mold of quiet, seemingly disinterested coaches. Like John Russell who I featured last week, Tracy lacked the passion and excitement that younger teams thrive on from their manager; his calm demeanor wasn’t exactly motivational. The Pirates have certainly had their fair share of overexcited and under-excited managers.