SPRINGFIELD, Mo–Happy birthday to the Ozarks own Bill Virdon.
The former major league baseball player and manager turns 90 years young Wednesday June 9th.
Virdon is a fixture at sports events in Springfield and will be honored by the Springfield Cardinals at Wednesday night’s game against the Arkansas Travelers.
Virdon was born in West Plains, went to college at Drury and was signed by the New York Yankees before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
He won the 1955 rookie of the year with the Cards and was traded to the Pirates where he helped Pittsburgh win the 1960 World Championship.
After his playing days, Virdon managed the Pirates, Yankees, Astros and Expos.
He’s the only Yankee skipper to never manage a game at Yankee Stadium.
It was being renovated during his two year tenure so home games were played at Shea Stadium.
David Jerome is writing a biography of Virdon titled: “Bill Virdon, I guess I did that.”
It will be released early next year.
Missouri Sports Hall of Famer Ned Reynolds explains why that title is perfect for Bill Virdon.
“Bill was very astute in his knowledge of baseball. And very dedicated to his formula on how you win. And it showed with the way he played. And the way he managed. And the way he coached. What makes Bill Virdon so special, because he isn’t flamboyant individual as such, is the reason for the book. I guess I did that. That’s how he answers a lot of questions. Hey Bill you were rookie of the year. Yea I guess I did that. And you managed the Yankees for a couple of years. Yea I guess I did that,” said Reynolds.