DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Rockies fired manager Clint Hurdle on Friday, less than two years after their incredible "Roctober" run to the World Series. He was replaced by bench coach Jim Tracy.
Without reliable hitting, pitching or defense, the Rockies stumbled to an 18-28 start and were 14½ games behind Los Angeles in the National League West division heading into Friday's action.
Hurdle, who had been Colorado's manager since replacing Buddy Bell three weeks into the 2002 season, had a 534-625 win-loss record.
He led the Rockies to their one and only trip to the World Series in 2007, where they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.
Tracy has a 562-572 managerial record with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2001-05) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2006-07), with a division title in 2004. He joined the Rockies' staff this winter at the behest of general manager Dan O'Dowd.
Hurdle, who was in the final year of his contract, was hamstrung this season by the loss of his best hitter and his best pitcher as the Rockies got off to their second straight slow start, which affected attendance.
Slugger Matt Holliday was traded to Oakland in November after refusing a contract extension, and ace Jeff Francis was lost for the season with shoulder surgery this spring - not that Hurdle ever used that as an excuse.
Hurdle was never one to complain about the club's cost-conscious ways, which likely helped earn him a longer leash from ownership than fans would have liked.
Except for that magical month at the end of the 2007 season, when the Rockies won their first NL pennant by going on an unfathomable 21-1 run-up to the World Series, Hurdle's teams never were very good.
Aside from their 90-73 record in '07, when they won the wild card in a one-game playoff against San Diego, the Rockies owned nothing but losing records under Hurdle - he's the only manager in major league history to begin his career with five consecutive losing seasons and not get fired for it.
Ownership stuck by their man for years because of his loyalty during the long rebuilding process when the Rockies pulled in their financial reins following some embarrassing and costly mistakes. Until the roster was refurbished and the young core of players seasoned, Hurdle was as much a fan ambassador as manager.