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Bill Virdon Dies at 90

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The Pirates announced on Tuesday that former player, manager and coach Bill Virdon died at the age of 90. Virdon wore a Pirates’ uniform for 11 seasons as a player, served as the team’s manager from 1972-1973 and served on the coaching staff for four different stints.

“Bill Virdon was a man who took such great pride in being a a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates family,” said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting. “Every fan who followed our 1960 team will always remember the instrumental role that he played to bring a third World Series Championship to the city of Pittsburgh,” he added.

Virdon was originally signed by the Yankees but broke into the big league in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals and was named that year’s rookie of the year. The Pirates acquired Virdon from the Cardinals during the 1956 season. In over 1,400 games with Pittsburgh, Virdon hit .266 with 1,431 hits, 72 home runs and 425 RBIs. Virdon was known for playing exceptional defense and won a Gold Glove award in 1962. In the 1960 World Series, Virdon collected seven hits and drove in five runs in the Pirates triumph over the Yankees.

He won another World Series when he served on the Pirates’ coaching staff during the 1971 season, before taking over as the team’s manager. In his first season in 1972, Virdon led the Bucs to the NLCS. Virdon went on to manage the Yankees, Astros and Expos and was a two-time manager of the year. For his managerial career, Virdon compiled a record of 995-921 and captured three division titles. After his days as a manager ended, Virdon frequently made his way to Bradenton for Spring Training and helped out the coaching staff as a special instructor.

“We send our thoughts and prayers to Bill’s wife of 70 years, Shirley, his children Debbie Virdon Lutes, Linda Virdon Holmes and Lisa Virdon Brown along with his seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren,” said Nutting.

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