Hurdle played for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals, and managed the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Labeled a "phenom" by Sports Illustrated at age twenty, Hurdle played 515 games at the major league level. After retiring from playing baseball, Hurdle became a manager. His eight seasons with the Rockies included leading the 2007 club to the franchise's first National League pennant. On November 14, 2010, the Pirates hired him to be their manager. In 2013, Hurdle led them to their first winning season and playoff appearance since 1992. He was named the NL Manager of the Year that season.