Buck Showalter: From Minor League Baseball In West Haven To Managing In New York
Buck Showalter has been involved in professional baseball for about 60-percent of his life.
It all started in 1977, when he was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Yankees. He then become a widely regarded manager in baseball over the last three decades.
Buck Showalter’s impact on New York sports has been one of the biggest.
After being drafted by the Yankees organization in 1977, he would be sent to Single-A Fort Lauderdale, where he hit a .362 in 56 games.
Showalter started the 1978 season with the Double-AA West Haven Yankees. Showalter would be part of one Eastern League Championship win in ‘79 with West Haven. Showalter posted splits of .279 / .332 / .345 and .677 in 129 games played.
Staying in the Yankees’ system, Showalter would go with West Haven to Nashville when the Yankees org., moved their AA system from Connecticut to Tennessee.
Showalter would be a Yankees prospect his entire career, going as far as AAA twice (‘81 for 14 games, ‘83 for 18 games). He was never able to crack the Majors and would be out of the lineups by 1984, last appearing with the Nashville Sounds in 1983.
Overall, Buck Showalter was a .294 career hitter in 793 minor league games, a real life Bull Durham.
After being a minor league dropout, Showalter got a managing job with the Single-A Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Penn league in 1985, leading them to a combined 114 win over two seasons.
In 1987, Showalter became manager of the Fort Lauderdale Yankees; and then he would find himself at Double-AA with the Albany Colonie, where he was named Minor League manager of the Year by Baseball America in 1989.
In 1990, Showalter was promoted to the New York Yankees coaching staff, and eventually succeeded Stump Merrill, who was Showalter’s manager in West Haven during the 1979 championship run. It was a true changing of the guard moment.
In 1992, Buck Showalter got to go on the steps of New York’s dugout at Yankee Stadium, but he was the one calling the shots now. Showalter would lead New York to a sub .500% record of 76-86 in his first season managing the New York Yankees.
1993 would see a different Yankees team. Winning 88 games and going 2nd in the standings. Because of a smaller playoff bracket in the early 1990s, the Yankees would miss out on playoff baseball despite having one of the better records in the league.
Showalter would manage the team for two more seasons (1994, ‘95) and would put New York in the 1995 playoffs, where they would go 2-3 in a Wild Card series loss against the Seattle Mariners.
Buck Showalter would not join the Yankees in 1996, being replaced by Joe Torre. Buck would bring his talents to Arizona in 1998 after missing the ‘97 and ‘98 seasons. He would jump around the league over the next two decades, managing three different teams (Diamondbacks, Rangers, Orioles).
Pre-2022 season, the New York Mets announced that they hired Buck Showalter to be their next manager. The move to put Showalter at the helm of Citi Field made him the fifth manager in Major League Baseball history to manage both the New York Yankees and Mets.
The New York Mets shocked the baseball world, going 101-61. A late season collapse though would put them out of first place in the NLE, putting them in the Wild Card against the San Diego Padres.
New York would fall to the Padres in three games, 1-2, putting the candle out on what was a bright season.
Showalter wasn’t really to blame for the Mets’ late season woes and early playoff exit, it was more on the players, who all went into a slump at the same time. Little did anyone know though, that slump would be the Mets true colors and carry into 2023.
The 2023 season was a pure disaster in Mets’ land. A 74-87 record would put the Mets out of playoff contention over a week before seasons end. It was announced before game 162, that Showalter would not return to the Mets in 2024.
Buck Showalter was fired by the New York Mets with a year left on his managerial contract.
Overall, Showalter went 488-416 in New York. A 313-268 record with the Yankees from 1992-1995; and then a 175-148 record more than two decades later with the Mets from 2022-2023.