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Buck Showalter
Manager
Born: May 23, 1956 (1956-05-23) (age 53)
DeFuniak Springs, Florida
Bats: Throws:  
MLB debut
April 7, 1992 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Games     1716
Win-Loss record     882-833
Winning %     .514
Teams

William Nathaniel "Buck" Showalter (born May 23, 1956 in DeFuniak Springs, Florida) is a former professional baseball player and manager. His most recent managerial position was with the Texas Rangers from 2002 - 2006.

Contents

Early life

Showalter, whose father was a high school coach and principal, moved with his family to Century, Florida, in the late 50s. In those days, the community's most popular summertime activity was a thriving Little League program that became even more popular in the early 60s—hundreds of townspeople showed up for every game night—following the construction of a very fine playing facility with high-powered lighting for night games. A new scoreboard was placed just a few feet from the Showalter family's back fence. Showalter's first real competitive baseball, vigorously cheered on by his family and much of the town, was played on that field.

Playing career

He played college baseball at Mississippi State University, where he was an All-American who batted .459 in 1977. 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. According to interviews with Buck, he has said it was around this time he was given the nickname "Buck," as he tended to hang out in the locker room "Buck" naked.

Becoming a coach

While Showalter did not have an impressive playing career, he was hired as manager of the single-A minor league Oneonta Yankees 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.

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 the personal animosity between Showalter and team owner George Steinbrenner, and along with the fallout of the strike, led to him leaving the Yankees. The Yankees won the World Series the following year. During 1995, he made comments that criticized Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. for wearing his cap backwards, calling it "Bush league."

Arizona Diamondbacks

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 team to a 100-62 record, the best in the National League's Western Division. However, following a mediocre third season, the Diamondbacks fired Showalter, leaving his 3-year record at 250-236. Just as the Yankees did after replacing him, the Diamondbacks won the World Series the following year.

Texas Rangers

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.

After Texas

Showalter was a senior advisor to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians and has returned to ESPN as an analyst.

See also

External links

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