Baltimore Orioles – No. 26
May 23, 1956 |
DeFuniak Springs, Florida
(through August 15, 2014)
Career highlights and awards
William Nathaniel "Buck" Showalter III (born May 23, 1956) is an American Major League Baseball (MLB) manager for the Baltimore Orioles. He has previously served as manager of the New York Yankees (1992–1995), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998–2000), and Texas Rangers (2003–2006). He was formerly a professional baseball player and a television analyst for ESPN.
A two-time American League (AL) Manager of the Year, Showalter has earned a reputation for building baseball teams into postseason contenders in short periods of time. He helped the Yankees rise from the bottom half of the AL East to first place before a players' strike prematurely ended the 1994 campaign. Under his watch, the Diamondbacks made their first-ever playoff appearance in only its second year of existence. He left both franchises just prior to seasons when they won the World Series.
Showalter, who was born in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, on May 23, 1956, grew up in nearby Century. His father, William Nathaniel II, served 23 years as a teacher and principal at Century High School, from which the younger Showalter eventually graduated. Before becoming a teacher, his father had been a Little All-American fullback in 1940 at Milligan College, and had considered a career in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but chose to become a high school coach instead.
Showalter played baseball at Chipola Junior College (now Chipola College) in Marianna, Florida, in 1976. From there he transferred to Mississippi State University where he played under the name "Nat Showalter". He was an All-American and set the Mississippi State record for batting average in a single season by hitting .459 during the 1977 season. He was selected by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the draft, and spent seven seasons in the Yankees' minor league system where he had a career average of .294 with 17 home runs and 336 RBIs. Showalter never played in the majors with the Yankees in part because he played first base, the same position as Don Mattingly.
Becoming a coach
Showalter was hired as manager of the Single-A minor league Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Penn League in 1985, leading them to 114 victories in two seasons. In 1987, he became manager of the minor league Fort Lauderdale Yankees, leading the league with an 85–53 record in his first season. By 1989, Showalter was with the Double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees of the Eastern League, where he was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America.
New York Yankees
In 1990, Showalter was promoted to the coaching staff of the New York Yankees, and eventually succeeded Stump Merrill as the team's manager for the 1992 season. During his four years as the Yankees' manager, the team posted a record of 313–268, finishing first during the strike-shortened season, thereby being named by the Associated Press as the American League Manager of the Year and became the 1995 American League manager for the All-Star Game. The Yankees won the AL wild card in 1995, participating in the playoffs for the first time since 1981, but Showalter was not rehired by the Yankees after the 1995 season because of the loss in the playoffs and other fallouts from the strike. It was the second time that the Yankees fired their managers as a result of a strike; the Yankees fired Gene Michael as a result of the 1981 strike.
The Yankees won the World Series the following year and they would win the World Series in 4 of the next 5 years. However, Showalter couldn't watch the Yankees win the World Series, saying that "I feel badly for the fans" in New York for what they lost during the 1994 strike. Showalter and Michael are credited with building the teams that won five World Championships, seven American League Pennants, and thirteen American League East titles.
In 1996, Showalter was hired by the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks two years before the team was scheduled to begin play in order to take a more active role in developing the eventual roster. In the Diamondbacks' first season (1998), Showalter managed the team to a 65–97 record, but following numerous off-season player acquisitions, which included Randy Johnson, Armando Reynoso, Todd Stottlemyre and Steve Finley, Showalter managed the 1999 team to a 100–62 record, the best in the National League West, but lost in the NLDS to the New York Mets. Following a mediocre third season, however, the Diamondbacks fired Showalter, leaving him with a 3-year record of 250–236. Just as the Yankees did after replacing him, the Diamondbacks won the World Series the following year.
After a few years as an analyst on ESPN, Buck Showalter was hired as manager of the Texas Rangers on October 11, 2002, following a last-place season under manager Jerry Narron. In his first season with the Rangers, Showalter managed the team to a 71–91 record – again in last place; but following the high-profile, off-season trade which sent Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees, Showalter's Rangers jumped out to an early-season record of 17–9 by early May of the 2004 season. The Rangers stayed in playoff contention for most of the season, performing far better than most had predicted. The Rangers failed to make the playoffs, finishing third in the AL West, though Showalter was again named Manager of the Year. In Showalter's 4 years with the Rangers the team failed to finish better than third (of four teams) in the AL West. He was fired as manager on October 4, 2006.
Showalter was hired as a senior advisor to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians on December 1, 2006, and then returned to ESPN as an analyst, before being appointed to succeed Juan Samuel as manager of the Baltimore Orioles on July 29, 2010. He chose to wear uniform number 26 as a tribute to Johnny Oates. Signed to a contract through the 2013 campaign, he inherited a ballclub with the worst record in the majors at 32–73. In his debut as manager on August 3, the Orioles recorded a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oriole Park, leading to a three-game sweep. The team's first-ever season series sweep of the Angels was completed by the end of the month. The 2010 Orioles won 34 of 57 games played under Showalter, second only to the Phillies during the same stretch.
He managed the 1,000th victory of his major-league career in a 7–1 triumph at Yankee Stadium on May 1, 2012. Showalter finished the 2012 season with a .574 winning percentage, winning 93 games, and ending a streak of losing seasons for the Orioles at 14.
Under Showalter, the Orioles reached the postseason for the first time since 1997, defeating the Texas Rangers in a one-game playoff on October 5, 2012. The Orioles were later defeated by the New York Yankees in the 2012 American League Division Series, 3 games to 2. Showalter was named the AL Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. He has re-signed through 2018 with the Orioles.
After finishing out of play-off contention in the 2013 season, Showalter led the Orioles to a first-place finish in their division in 2014. The Orioles subsequently swept the Detroit Tigers (3-0) in the ALDS for Showalter's first major league ALDS title, before being swept themselves (4-0) by the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS.
- Solotaroff, Paul (April 2011). "Is This Man Too Smart for Baseball?". Men's Journal.
- New York Yankees (team history & encyclopedia) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (team history & encyclopedia) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- Wheeler, Kate (July 29, 2010). "Getting to know Buck Showalter". Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.
- "Former Century Resident, Current ESPN Analyst Buck Showalter To Speak". NorthEscambia.com. March 4, 2010.
- Milligan Stampede (student newspaper) 1940–49. The interview by David Driver is mistaken on this point.
- http://www.hailstate.com/fls/16800/pdf/bb/bb_08mg_records.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=16800 Mississippi State University Baseball Team and Individual Records
- Johnson, Richard A.; Stout, Glenn; Johnson, Dick (2002). Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 389. ISBN 0-618-08527-0.
- Amore, Dom (May 15, 2005). "Imagine: Buck's Yankees, but Not Jeter's". The Hartford Courant. p. E8.
- Curry, Jack (August 7, 1994). "BASEBALL; Flashback to '81: Another Lead, Another Strike". The New York Times. p. A1.
- O'Connell, Jack (September 9, 1994). "Behind Two Strikes? Yankees' Shot at First Series Since '81 in Jeopardy". Hartford Courant. p. C1. "'The strike cost me my job,' said Gene Michael, the Yankees' current general manager who was fired as their manager Sept. 6, 1981 and replaced by Bob Lemon. 'There's no doubt in my mind we would have won the division outright if it had not been for the strike. Once they split the season and designated us winners of the first half, we did not play the same.'"
- Gross, Jane (September 7, 1981). "Steinbrenner Dismisses Michael, Names Lemon as Yank Manager". The New York Times. p. A1.
- "Puckett receives Clemente award". USA Today. October 24, 1996. p. 5C.
- Associated Press (December 1, 2006). "Tribe hire Showalter as senior adviser". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Orioles name Buck Showalter Manager". Baltimore Orioles (MLB.com). July 29, 2010.
- Zrebiec, Jeff (August 6, 2010). "To Showalter, No. 26 is more than a number". The Baltimore Sun.
- Connolly, Dan (August 2, 2010). "Orioles introduce Buck Showalter as manager". The Baltimore Sun.
- Karpovich, Todd (August 3, 2010). "Buck's era of accountability begins with win". MLB.com.
- Ghiroli, Brittany (August 5, 2010). "Great Cesar's ghost: O's walk off for sweep". MLB.com.
- Drellich, Evan (August 29, 2010). "Guthrie shuts down Halos to seal sweep". MLB.com.
- Ghiroli, Brittany (May 1, 2012). "O's click behind Matusz in Buck's 1,000th win". MLB.com.
- Bahr, Chris (October 24, 2012). "Sporting News MLB awards: Buck Showalter, Davey Johnson voted top managers". SportingNews.com. Managed Orioles to 2014 American League Champions
- Career statistics and player information from The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Buck Showalter managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com