Buck Showalter was the right-hand man, and manager, alongside of the master builder, Gene Michael, of the Yankees dynasty of the 90’s...and he could be just that for the New York Mets. It was Showalter who moved up the ladder with that famous core group of players – Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Petitte, and Mariano Rivera.
Showalter led the Yankees back to their glory days but, unfortunately, George Steinbrenner was able to get one last impulsive blow in, cutting Buck loose after a playoff loss in 1995. Joe Torre, a less than mediocre manager in New York, Atlanta, St. Louis, came along to reap the rewards.
The New York Mets would be one of the Yankees victims during their World Series run
The Yankees would win the World Series the very next season, actually winning the World Series four out of the next five years, including beating the Mets in the 2000 Fall Classic.
For me, it will always be Buck who should get the credit for building that Yankees supernova. The only mistake I can really fault HIM for? Listening to George Costanza and switching from polyester uniforms to cotton. Running like penguins isn’t the “Yankee Way.”
Showalter took the next two years to serve as the architect of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks…even to the details of designing the field…with the unique dirt cutout from the mound to home plate…a throwback to the old days.
In just their second season of existence, 1999, Buck would lead the Diamondbacks to a 100-win season and the post-season. But the Diamondbacks were not quite ready, falling short of reaching the World Series. Buck would last another season before being dismissed after the 2000 season.
Guess what? The next season, 2001, the Diamondbacks would win the World Series defeating, who else, the Yankees, to halt their WS win streak at three.
The Diamondbacks would never again show the promise they did under the tutelage of Showalter. The team has struggled for identity ever since his departure.
Next stop? The Texas Rangers. Another place where Buck came in, cleaned house, and then left just before he could enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Four seasons of changing the culture. Not long after he left, the Rangers spent six seasons at or near the top of the American League’s Western Division, and went to the World Series in consecutive years, the organization’s only to WS appearances, dating all the way back to their days as the 1961 expansion Washington Senators.
After another hiatus, he agreed to join the Baltimore Orioles. He, again, worked to turn a problem situation around. In his second full season, he had to endure a 69-93 record and last place finish. He reversed that with a 93-69 record the next year and a trip to the post season.
The Orioles would be his longest stint as manager, ending with what had to be an embarrassing stamp on his managerial record, a horrifying 47-115 record in 2018. But, then, Casey Stengel managed to an even worse 40-120 mark with a roster that included a number of future Hall of Famers.
Buck Showalter has shown a true knack for building a winner, for creating a culture that is tantamount to a foundation of success. He has proven that he can deal with tough owners. He can deal with young players and players who make a hell of a lot more money than he ever could. He can teach the game, and he expects his players to know how to play the game the “right” way. And he certainly has an understanding for the New York media circus.
It certainly seems like Buck would be the right fit for the New York Mets. As long as George Costanza doesn’t get close to him.