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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.
We are incredibly saddened to confirm the passing of former Pirates great Bill Virdon.
Bill was a great member of the Pirates organization and will be truly missed. We send our condolences to the Virdon family at this time. pic.twitter.com/dJwPHGbgUg
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) November 23, 2021
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.
Hate to hear about the passing of Bill “Quail” Virdon. He hit me ground balls as long as his body would let him. Time would pass and Id catch him sitting on bucket. Id tease him and tell him to get up. His response ,” Old age can kiss my as🤭.” That was him. Rest easy my friend pic.twitter.com/PIfpHXx0n8
— Andrew McCutchen (@TheCUTCH22) November 23, 2021
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.
Former Astros manager Bill Virdon, who is the franchise leader in career wins, has passed away. He was 90 years old.
His impact on the Astros organization will never be forgotten. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Shirley, and to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/OqfqbeoPu2
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 23, 2021
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.