Buck Showalter was with the Hyannis Port Mets of the Cape Cod League (which he tore up offensively) as well as then a fine minor-league first baseman in the Yankees farm system. Buck had the poor luck of being at that position when Don Mattingly was bashing all those home runs.
Showalter was then given the job of managing team-captain Mattingly and the Yankees in the wake of the dubious Stump Merrill era. In 1994, Showalter led the Yankees to the best record in the American League if not all of baseball. They seemed destined to win their first World Series since 1978. (They probably would have played the Montreal Expos. Remember them? Remember when that franchise was a talent-developing machine?)
The only problem is there would be no World Series in 1994. The season concluded with 70 wins for the Yankees and a Major League Baseball work-play stoppage.
In 1995, the Yankees won the first-ever American League Wild Card. They lost a heartbreaking series to the Seattle Mariners.
Showalter was fired. The following season, the Yankees won the World Series and have barely ever looked back.
Showalter was then tapped to build the expansion-team Arizona Diamondbacks. He constructed a superb club in a hurry. But he was dismissed at the end of the 2000 season.
The Diamondbacks won the World Series the following year.
The Texas Rangers were Showalter’s next stop. He was shown the door in 2006, a miserable failure truly for the first time in his career. Yet, in the heart of Dallas Cowboys land, the Rangers have been in the World Series in 2010 and 2011.
One has to guess what might happen with the Showalter-led Baltimore Orioles, a franchise of underachievers since the mid-1990s.
The rap on Buck Showalter is that he is a control freak and “over-manager.” Let’s hope he sticks it out to make a much-desired World Series appearance.
In April, the baseball season is always being viewed thro the wrong end of a telescope.