10/11/2002 11:24 am ET
The Buck stops in Texas
Showalter is new Rangers manager
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Buck will stop in Texas and the Rangers are hoping his pattern of success continues.
Buck Showalter was officially named manager of the Rangers on Friday at a press conference at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers and Showalter have agreed to a four-year deal, which the Dallas Morning News reported was worth $6 million over the term of the contract. The club did not confirm the financial terms.
"The Texas Rangers finished last for three straight years and that's disappointing to players, disappointing to fans and I assure you that's disappointing to ownership and management," Rangers owner Tom Hicks said. "We believed we needed to make a change in direction, a change in culture and go back to success we had in earlier years. I am proud and I think we have the best person possible and available in the offseason to start this process. This is a very special day for the Texas Rangers baseball club."
Rangers GM John Hart had interviewed bench coach Terry Francona, first-base coach DeMarlo Hale and former manager Buddy Bell for the vacant skipper's position. Hart and Hicks also met with farm director Trey Hillman, but could not offer a formal interview because Hillman has agreed to manage the Nippon Ham fighters in Japan's Pacific League. Former Rangers manager Jerry Narron was let go on Oct. 1.
|The Showalter File
William Nathaniel "Buck" Showalter
46 (born May 23, 1956 in DeFuniak Springs, Fla.)
Wife Angela, son Nathan and daughter Allie
He was an All-American at Chipola Junior College. In 1977 he set the Mississippi State record for batting average in a season with a .459 mark and earned first-team all-SEC and all-America honors while collecting 44 RBIs. He was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Yankees and played seven seasons in the New York minor league organization, hitting a career .294 with 17 home runs and 36 RBIs. He led the Southern League in hits in 1980 and '82. An infielder, Showalter never played in the Major Leagues due in large part because he played the same position as Yankee great Don Mattingly.
Minor league managing experience:
He led Single-A Oneonta of the New York Penn League to 55 wins in 1985 and another 59 victories in 1986. In 1987, his Class-A Fort Lauderdale team led the league with an 85-53 record. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America in 1989, leading his Double-A Albany team to a mark of 97-46.
Major League managing experience (563-504):
He managed the Yankees from 1992-95 and, in 1994, had the best record in the American League and was named AL Manager of the Year. In 1995, he led the team to a playoff berth, but left New York after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by Seattle in the first round to take the manager's job with the Diamondbacks. There, he was the architect of an Arizona team which became the quickest expansion entry to make the playoffs (and, ultimately, the World Series), helping build the franchise for two years before the D-Backs took the field in 1998. Arizona won the NL West title with a 100-62 in 1999. After the D-Backs finish third in 2000 with an 85-77 record, Showalter was replaced by Bob Brenly.
Handed out a 300-page organizational manual to players during his first year in Arizona. ... The Diamondbacks and the Yankees each won the World Series the year after he was dismissed. ... Showalter almost always wears a jacket while he manages and was known to sometimes sleep in his office at the park in Arizona.
"As I looked at Buck's background -- working with young players, veterans -- he fit the criteria we had here," Hart said. "He's going to be able to elevate this franchise."
William Nathaniel "Buck" Showalter has a 563-504 record in six Major League seasons with Arizona and the Yankees. In addition to his reputation as a stern disciplinarian and strong leader, Showalter has another distinction -- the Diamondbacks and the Yankees each won the World Series the year after he was dismissed.
"We certainly don't need anybody to tell us how we are doing because there is a scoreboard and standings everyday to let us know," Showalter said. "I think I'm at the point now where I have talked about it and given it a lot of lip service and I think actions speak volumes. I'm looking forward to getting into the environment of meetings and trying to do the things it takes to put us at another level."
The 46-year-old Showalter, who managed the Yankees from 1992-95, had the best record in the American League and was named AL Manager of the Year in 1994. In 1995, he led the team to a playoff berth, but left the job in New York after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by Seattle in the first round to take the job with Arizona.
There, he was the architect of an Arizona team which became the quickest expansion team to make the playoffs (and ultimately, the World Series), building the D-Backs for two years before they took the field in 1998.
In just their second season, Arizona won the NL West title with a 100-62 in 1999. In 2000, the team finished in third place with a 85-77 record and Showalter was replaced by Bob Brenly. Brenly and the Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001.
"I tried to treat people like I like to be treated," Showalter said. "The job description in New York was different than it was in Arizona where I did what I was asked to do. What Arizona asked me to do, was everything I did, was to make the organization as good as possible. If that meant calling a minor league manager in the middle of the night after losing ten in a row or trying to help a scout sign a player on the road, then I stand accused.
"In New York, that was not part of my job description and here it obviously won't be. I'm looking forward to managing this ball team."
Showalter's history with the Yankees runs deep. He spent seven seasons in the New York minor league system as an infielder and led the Southern League in hits in 1980 and 1982. As manager, Showalter led Single-A Oneonta of the New York Penn League to 55 wins in 1985 and another 59 victories in 1986. In 1987, his Single-A Fort Lauderdale team led the league with an 85-53 record.
Showalter was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America in 1989, leading his Double-A Albany team to a mark of 97-46. He replaced Stump Merrill as the Yankees skipper in 1992.
"He was a player and he spent a number of years in the minor leagues and he has won at every place he has been," Hart said. "He came to the Yankees, probably the most difficult job for a man in his mid-30s, and took them to the postseason. He created a Yankees-style that I think everybody stepped up and took notice. Then he went to Arizona and basically built up that club."
He had been an analyst for ESPN since being let go by Arizona after the 2000 season.
"We don't have all the answers but we are certainly going to try to search for them until we get it right," Showalter said.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.