Buck Showalter, Manager, Baltimore Orioles
Date of Birth: 5/23/1956
Birthplace: Defuniak Springs, Florida
College: Mississippi State University
Buck Showalter, manager of the Baltimore Orioles since 2010, did the seemingly impossible in 2012, leading the Orioles to a Wild Card win in the American League. Prior to that season, the Orioles had been one of the worst teams in the American League, finishing in last place of the AL East division from 2008 through 2011. For the 10 years before that, the Orioles had finished with a win percentage under .500. In 2012, they ended up in second place in the AL East with a win percentage of .574 (93 wins, 69 losses). In 2013, they didn't fare as well, finishing in third place with an 85-77 record. However, they rebounded in 2014, finishing with a 96-66 record and a first place finish in the AL East division.
Although he seemed to have a promising career while in college, batting .459 in 1977, Showalter never played in the major leagues. Instead, he spent seven years with the New York Yankees minor league teams, ending his short player career with a .294 batting average.
From 1985 through 1989, Showalter managed teams in the minor leagues. His success in that role led to a coaching position with the Yankees in 1990 and advancement to the manager job in 1992. Showalter remained the Yankees manager through the strike shortened 1995 season but then was released. During his time as manager of the Yankees, they had a record of 313-268 and they made the playoffs in 1995, ending a 14 year drought for the team. Showalter was named AL Manager of the Year by the Associated Press.
Following his time with the Yankees, Showalter helped start the new Arizona Diamondbacks team, signing up with them two years before they started playing in 1998. The Diamondbacks and Showalter struggled for the first year but ended the 1999 season with a 100-62 record. The following year was not nearly as good and Showalter was fired.
Showalter spent the next two years in broadcasting, signing on with ESPN as a baseball analyst. He was back in baseball as a manager in 2003 with the Texas Rangers, performing much as he had with Arizona, having a poor first year but leading the team to a winning record in his second year as manager. He stayed with the Rangers until the end of 2006 when he was fired. Although Showalter didn't lead the Rangers to the playoffs, he was named AL Manager of the Year for the second time in 2004.
Showalter spent most of the next three seasons as an ESPN baseball analyst. At the end of July, 2010, he was hired as manager of the Baltimore Orioles. His first two years were not impressive but in 2014, he led the Orioles to a first place finish in the AL East and a 3-0 win against the Detroit Tigers in the AL Division Series. The team then went on to lose the AL Championship Series 4-0 to the Kansas City Royals. Showalter won his third AL Manager of the Year award for his efforts with the Orioles in 2014.
The Orioles and Showalter finished in third place in the AL East division in 2015. They had an 81-81 record. The team and Showalter fared better in 2016, finishing in a tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for second place in the AL East division and for the two AL Wild Card spots. They had 84 wins to 78 losses in the regular season but they lost the Wild Card game to the Blue Jays in the eleventh inning with a score of 5-2.
The Orioles and Showalter had their worst year in 2017 since 2011. They finished the 2017 season in last place in the AL East division with 71 wins and 70 losses.
Showalter's record in eight years with the Orioles is 618 wins to 552 losses and his overall managerial record for 19 years is 1,500 wins to 1,385 losses. Showalter has a contract to manage the Orioles through the 2018 season.