Something well known among reporters and those close to Clint Hurdle is this: The man loves discussing baseball history. Get him talking about his playing days or prominent figures of days past, and his entire demeanor changes.
He lights up. He may smile or he may channel an intensity equal parts respect and admiration. But he'll give you everything you'd hope to hear and more. That's a fact.
Such was the case Thursday at PNC Park when Hurdle was asked what he remembered about the 1979 World Series-winning Pirates squad and, specifically, Dave Parker.
When discussing the crossroads of skill and intimidation, Hurdle said, nobody did it quite like "The Cobra."
"There was a time where I think many of us in the game thought Dave Parker was the baddest dude in baseball. Flat out," Hurdle began. "There wasn't anything he couldn't do. You had a big man that moved well, power, the arm — everybody will remember the throw in the All-Star Game ... But the power, the presence, physically imposing, and also the brashness, cockiness, whatever. It was real. It was real, man. It was almost like a caricature."
Unfortunately for Pirates' opponents that season, it wasn't just Parker bringing that swagger and that aura. It was the entire team. And everybody knew it.
"You knew when the Pirates showed up, it wasn't like the circus, it was a bad circus is coming to town," Hurdle said. "Your hands were full. You better put your game face on, get ready to play, because the Pirates were coming to town."
Watch and listen to Hurdle's full description of that team right here: