A Royals number-one draft pick, Hurdle was American Association Rookie of the Year
and MVP in 1977 but never reached the ML stardom many predicted for him. As the regular
right fielder for the 1980 Royals pennant winners, he hit .294, with 10 homers and
60 RBI. A back injury put him out most of the next season, and he never regained
his batting stroke. A positive clubhouse attitude and a willingness to play anywhere,
even catch, extended his career.
»April 28, 1985:
Darryl Strawberry hits a grand slam in the first inning at New York but it takes another five hours before the Mets score again. Mookie Wilson scores from 3B when Clint Hurdle's grounder went through the legs of Pittsburgh first baseman Jason Thompson for an error in the 18th inning to give the Mets a 5-4 victory in a game that lasts five hours 21 minutes. Lee Tunnell, the Bucs 7th pitcher, takes the loss. A defensive gem by Rusty Staub, robs the Pirates of at least one run in the top of the 18th. Staub, 41, who weighs 230 is pressed into service when the Mets ran out of players in the 12th inning. Staub played right field when right-handed batters came up and left field when left-handed hitters batted. He was playing right in the top of the 18th. With Tunnell on second and two out, pinch hitter Rick Rhoden hits a looping fly ball down the RF line and Staub makes a running catch to save a run. In the bottom of the 18th Gary Carter draws a walk and Wilson, running for him, goes to third on Strawberry's single to right. When Hurdle's grounder went through Thompson, it ends the longest game in three years. Through one stretch in the marathon, in which 43 players were used, Pirate pitchers hold the Mets hitless for 10 innings.