Tobacco-chewing Danny Murtaugh, the only manager to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a world champion since 1927, was again named manager of the National League club. Murtaugh, retired after seven years of managing in 1964, due to ill health, but General Manager Joe L. Brown said he is now physically fit. “He assured me he is physically sound,” Brown said. The 52-year-old Murtaugh has been in charge of the Pirates’ rookie instructional league and development of players for the past three years. He also served as interim manager when Harry Walker was fired in 1966. He succeeds Larry Shepard, who was fired four games before the 1969 season ended. The Pirates sailed atop the National League East division all summer before sinking to third place with a September slump (13-19 for the month).
Meanwhile, Don Hoak, a prime candidate for the managerial post until Murtaugh was named, died yesterday. The 41-year-old Hoak was found slumped over the wheel of his car and was rushed to nearby Shadyside Hospital. The Allegheny County coroner confirmed the death, but the specific cause was not immediately known. Just Wednesday night Hoak said in a television broadcast he was the man for the Pirate job. Hoak, a spark plug on the 1960 world champions, was a former Pirate third baseman and managed the Pirates’ Columbus farm club to a second place finish in 1969.