A First for Showalter
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
With the Baltimore Orioles sweeping the Tigers in the ALDS in three-straight games, Buck Showalter won his first-ever playoff series as manager. This is a great moment for the Orioles’ skipper. It actually got me thinking: Did Showalter ever get to the playoffs when he was a player? The results shocked me.
Buck Showalter was drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 1977 MLB Amateur Draft from Mississippi State University. Looking at his statistics though, I discovered Showalter never actually made it to the Majors.
In his first year of Single-A ball, Showalter played well. Batting .362 with 25 RBI and ten extra base hits in 56 games played in ’77, he looked like a promising up-and-coming player for the Yankees. However, because he was a first baseman– the position that Don Mattingly occupied– he never broke into the Majors. After playing six years in the Yankees’ Farm System, Showalter gave up on his dreams of playing in the big leagues and transitioned to being a manager. In 1985, he was hired by the Yankees to manage their Single-A team.
This was the start to a storied managerial career that landed spots as the Yankees’ skipper in 1992, the Diamondbacks’ manager in 1998, the Rangers’ manager in 2003, and eventually the Orioles’ skipper where he is making a name for himself.
Showalter already is a two-time American League Manager of the Year Award winner and it looks like he will become a three-time winner after this year is over. However, the year is not over for the Birds as they prepare to face the Royals in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.
Wow ALCS! Just typing that got me excited.
One thing is for sure. On Friday morning, everyone in Birdland will be waking up saying, “Thank God it’s Friday and thank God I’m a country boy.”