06/23/2004 2:50 PM ET
Hurdle named NL All-Star coach
Rockies manager excited to join staff in Houston
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Clint Hurdle had some plans to cancel.
|Manager Clint Hurdle is excited to be part of this year's All-Star Game. (John Miller/AP)
"I went home and told [my wife] Karla we wouldn't be going to Santa Barbara for the break. I might have an opportunity to go to Houston, what do you think? And she said, 'I think you've got to go.' I said, I was hoping you'd say that, because I'd really like to go."
The voyage has little to do with a chance to see NASA's space center and instead offers a chance to visit another launching pad of sorts, when Hurdle will join Florida manager Jack McKeon as a member of his All-Star Game coaching staff at Minute Maid Park on July 13.
"I was very humbled, completely caught off guard, and respectfully accepted," said Hurdle, who will join Houston's Jimy Williams on the coaching roster. "For me, the last All-Star team I was a part of was in Little League, maybe Triple-A. It's one of those moments you really enjoy."
McKeon also invited Marlins coaches Jeff Cox, Doug Davis, Perry Hill, Bill Robinson, Wayne Rosenthal and Pierre Arsenault to handle batting practice and other field duties for the event, something Hurdle somewhat experienced when he threw batting practice for Rockies outfielder Larry Walker in the 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway Park.
"I ended up throwing to three other guys so I got a pretty good workout that day, but I didn't hang around," Hurdle said. "This is going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to it."
"It's an honor for the whole organization," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "It shows how well he's thought of in the game and how well he's respected by his fellow managers."
Hurdle said his contact with McKeon prior to his naming had been limited, and the two didn't have a long-standing friendship that might lead to the selection.
"I don't know exactly Jack's reasons for asking me. You'd have to ask Jack, but that being said, it's a feel-good thing," Hurdle said. "I'm not related and it's not a family issue, so hopefully there's some merit to it."
Hurdle took over as the fourth manager in Rockies history on April 26, 2002, and is in his second full season in charge of the club. Before that, Hurdle spent the previous five seasons as the club's hitting instructor under the team's previous three managers -- Don Baylor, Jim Leyland and Buddy Bell.
He also was the Rockies' minor league hitting instructor from 1994-1996, and managed in the New York Mets system for six seasons.
"I've been able to plan for the All-Star break for a lot of years. I've never figured on the game getting in the way," Hurdle said.
JR Radcliffe is a contributing writer for MLB.com. MLB.com writer Thomas Harding contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.