As a big leaguer for 10 seasons, a major league manager for 17 years and for the past dozen years a holiday visitor to Manhattan, Clint Hurdle has an understanding of the relationship between baseball and New York, where Hurdle’s playing career ended with the Mets in 1987.
As Gerrit Cole’s manager for five seasons in Pittsburgh, Hurdle has a handle on the 29-year-old right-hander’s mentality and makeup.
“He looked for the opportunity, and he has the opportunity,’’ Hurdle told The Post on Sunday via phone about Cole, who signed a record-breaking nine-year deal for a whopping $324 million to join the Yankees last week and will be introduced at a Yankee Stadium press conference this week. “He will be good for the team and the city.’’
Cole grew up in Southern California a Yankee fan but crushed them by going to UCLA after being their first-round selection in the 2008 draft. Three years later, he was the first pick of the draft by the Pirates and reached the big leagues in 2013, when Hurdle was the manager.
“I got to watch a kid grow up from a young player to a man,’’ Hurdle said of Cole, who went 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in five seasons with the Pirates….