The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a valuable member of its family Tuesday afternoon.
The Pirates announced that former outfielder and manager Bill Virdon died at the age of 90.
After winning the National League Rookie of the Year award during the 1955 season thanks to 17 home runs and 68 RBI, Virdon struggled to begin 1956 and was traded to Pittsburgh where he’d remain for the rest of his career.
In 11 seasons spanning 1956-65 as well as 1968, Virdon recorded a .266 batting average, 217 doubles, 72 homers, and 502 RBI in 667 games as a member of the Black and Gold.
Virdon is widely known in Pittsburgh as a member of the 1960 World Champion team defeating the New York Yankees in the last championship clinching game played in the City of Pittsburgh.
Following his playing days, Virdon managed the Bucs during the 1972 and 1973 seasons, before becoming the skipper for Yankees (1974-75), Houston Astros (1975-82), and Montreal Expos (1983-84).
He guided the ‘72 Pirates to the NLCS and finished with a 995-921 overall mark.
Virdon was nicknamed “Quail” by legendary Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince due to his knack for beating out infield hits. He later made guest appearances in Spring Training to assist members of the current Pirates team and remain involved in the organization.
He returned to the Bucs as a coach in 1986 during Jim Leyland’s first season managing the Pirates.
Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke to numerous Members of the Pirates who were close to Virdon and played with the 12-year veteran.
Steve Blass on Bill Virdon: "I don’t think there was anybody around baseball who didn’t respect Bill Virdon. That’s a rare, rare item right there."— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 23, 2021
Dick Groat on Bill Virdon: "He was a very solid baseball man. He knew the game, and I thought he did a good job of managing people. He had quite a career as a manager."— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 23, 2021
ElRoy Face on the late, great Bill Virdon: "I’ve often said that I’d just as soon have him in center field as Willie Mays."— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 23, 2021
Virdon was known for his kindness and impact he left on others.
The Pirates expressed their sadness for the loss of Virdon, sending prayers to his family and stating his importants to the franchise.