Jim Leyland will find out Sunday whether he will be immortalized in Cooperstown.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates manager is one of eight men on the Hall of Fame’s Contemporary Era Committee ballot. A group of 16 voters, including seven men already inducted into the Hall, will decide Leyland’s fate when they meet at the start of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
I’ve gone on record saying that I believe Leyland is worthy of the Hall of Fame. Many people in baseball feel the same way. It will likely be somewhat of a surprise if he isn’t elected.
However, another former Pirates manager should also be in the Hall of Fame but has sadly never garnered much support. He is Danny Murtaugh.
Murtaugh is the only manager to win multiple World Series with the Pirates, leading them to victory in both 1960 and 1971. Just three other skippers have guided the franchise to even one world championship – Fred Clarke (1909), Bill McKechnie (1925) and Chuck Tanner (1979).
Clarke and McKechnie are in the Hall.
Furthermore, Murtaugh is one of 23 managers in baseball history to win at least two World Series.
Murtaugh’s success went beyond the two World Series titles, though. He had a 1,115-950 record over all or parts of 15 seasons and four different stints as the Pirates’ manager between 1957 and 1976. His teams won at least 90 games five times.
Murtaugh is also the second-winningest manager in franchise history behind Clarke, who guided the Pirates to a 1,422-969 mark in 16 seasons from 1900-15.
So why isn’t Murtaugh in the Hall of Fame? It’s a complicated question to answer.
Members with 10 consecutive years of membership in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote annually on retired players up for induction. However, managers, executives and umpires are elected by votes of special committees like the one that will convene on Sunday in Nashville.
The BBWAA vote is often close to form each year. However, the special committees have a tendency to be all over the place in their balloting. That has led to the induction of people who, quite charitably, have no business being Hall of Famers.
For example, that is why Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame and Dave Parker is not.
Murtaugh was on the Hall’s Golden Days Era Committee ballot in 2021. However, he did not receive the three-quarters of the vote needed to gain election.
That Murtaugh has been continually snubbed is mystifying. He is one of just eight managers in major-league history with at least 1,000 career victories, a .540 winning percentage and multiple World Series championships.
Yet Murtaugh is one of just two men on that list who aren’t in the Hall of Fame. The other is Terry Francona, who retired as the Cleveland Guardians’ manager at the end of this past season and is likely to gain induction in 2026, the first year he will be eligible.
Maybe time has forgotten Murtaugh. He died following his final season in 1976 at 59, so it has been nearly a half-century since Murtaugh filled out a lineup card.
However, Murtaugh was one of the best managers ever. Like Leyland, he certainly deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.