This October, Slippery Rock University alumnus Jim Trdinich, better known in the baseball world as the Director of Baseball Communications for the Pittsburgh Pirates, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and be inducted into the SRU Media Hall of Fame.
Trdinich, who currently lives in Franklin Park, Pa. with his wife and teenage son, attended SRU in the 1980s where he studied communication, and the summer after his junior year, he landed an internship with the Pirates. The rest is history. He stayed in the major leagues, traveling to New York City after his 1986 graduation to work as a Public Relations Assistant for the National League of Major League Baseball. After only a few years, however, he followed his heart back to Pittsburgh, climbing up the ladder to his current position as Director of Baseball Communications. In 1991, he was the youngest director of communications in MLB.
In his role, he oversees all interview requests for the players and uniformed personnel, writes and produces the annual media guide, and is responsible for the daily game notes during spring training as well as the regular season. Trdinich also works closely with the Pirates broadcasters and writers as well as the national media.
“There are only 30 jobs like this in the whole world, and I’m one of them,” Trdinich said. “I hate to use the quote, ‘I’m living the dream,’ but I am living the dream.”
This baseball season will be Trdinich’s 31st with the Pirates, and through it all, he remarked that he’s grown some thick skin and learned to “roll with the punches” because there will always be ups and downs. His work over the last three decades also earned him the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence in Major League Baseball in 2011. It was an honor to receive the award, he said, especially after working with Bob Fishel himself in New York; Fishel was the PR director for the New York Yankees before his passing in 1988.
After 30 years, he’s also watched the organization grow from a small behind-the-scenes team to an organization with many specialized departments and responsibilities.
“It’s grown leaps and bounds as far as people working in the office and doing different things,” Trdinich said. “But as a whole, I think we’re the same.”
Trdinich advises young professionals to slow down, listen and learn because those with more seniority can have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge and experience. Additionally, he strongly urges students to complete internships; after all, he did start his award-winning, decades-long career with one.
“A lot of our interns have gone on to do bigger and better things,” Trdinich added. “You never know where it’s gonna take you.”
The SRU Media Hall of Fame will honor and induct Trdinich as part of the Homecoming 2019 festivities. Each year, the Hall of Fame holds its ceremony that Friday, and in the morning, the inductees ride on a float in the parade through Slippery Rock. Jim Aronson, SRU media alumni chairperson and founder of the organization, said Trdinich is so deserving of this award, and Aronson is happy to honor him.
“He did his internship with the Pirates and he never left and we thought, ‘What a great success story,’” Aronson said of Trdinich. “He’s very dedicated. Our running joke is, ‘You’re definitely gonna be at the Hall of Fame ceremony, right?’ ‘Well, if we’re not at the playoffs.’”
Aronson said the Hall of Fame ceremonies are meant to inspire and motivate current students involved in SRU media, showcasing the success that alumni have found coming out of the program.
“It’s nice to honor people who have built these great careers, but it’s really important to us, and we stress this, to get back to the students,” he added. “They’re definite examples of how to be successful from Slippery Rock University.”
Over the next few weeks, nominees and award winners will continue to be announced, and the five inductees to be welcomed into the Hall of Fame will be announced in May via Facebook Live. To stay updated, follow the SRU Media Hall of Fame on Facebook.