03/31/2022 8:00 AM
Article By: Kaley Brown
It is widely known that the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) consistently produces Major League Baseball (MLB) talent on the field; however, not as often do we recognize the talent that goes on to have careers in the dugout.
Take longtime MLB manager Buck Showalter for example. The current New York Mets skipper shone brightly in 1976 as a member of the then-Hyannis Mets, now Harbor Hawks, claiming the CCBL batting title that year with a .434 batting average. To this day, it remains the third-highest in CCBL history. Showalter was also named a Cape Cod League All-Star that season.
His performance that summer, which also included logging 62 hits (19 extra-base hits), 35 runs and 20 RBI, was good enough to earn him the Cape League Most Valuable Player award. Notably, the outfielder did not commit an error all season.
Showalter’s phenomenal summer on the Cape eventually made him a Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Famer as a member of the 2002 class alongside other CCBL legends such as fellow Hyannis Met Jason Varitek, former Cotuit Kettleer Ron Darling and Orleans Cardinals alumnus Nomar Garciaparra.
Showalter did not reach the MLB at the playing level, but he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 1977 Draft. He spent seven seasons competing in New York’s Minor League Baseball (MiLB) system before managing the organization’s Single-A and Double-A teams for a number of years.
He was then promoted to the Yankees’ coaching staff where he remained for two years before being named the franchise’s manager in 1992. Showalter spent four years at New York’s helm, garnering a 313-268 win-loss record over that span. He was also named American League (AL) Manager of the Year in 1994 when New York won the AL East title.
He helped lead the 1995 Yankees to the playoffs for the first time since 1981 with an AL Wild Card victory before moving on to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks as the expansion team’s first skipper in the team’s inaugural 1998 season.
Over the course of three seasons with the west coast team, Showalter collected a 250-236 record with players such as Randy Johnson and Todd Stottlemyre. He managed the Diamondbacks to a 100-62 record in 1999 and captured first place in the National League (NL) West.
Showalter was named the Texas Rangers’ manager after the 2002 season, culminating a 319-329 record over that span. Showalter was named Manager of the Year once again after the 2004 season when his Rangers team exceeded expectations and placed third in the AL West.
Showalter next opportunity came back in the AL East, with the Baltimore Orioles halfway through the 2010 season. He led an Orioles team, with the worst record in MLB at the time of his hiring, to 34 wins over the final 57 games of the season in which he was at the helm.
In 2014, Baltimore won the AL East with a record of 96-66, the first time in 17 years that the Os had claimed the division title. Showalter promptly won his first Division Series with a sweep against the Detroit Tigers, and was named AL Manager of the Year for the third time in his career upon completion of that season. Showalter managed Baltimore to the playoffs again in 2016 when the team finished second place in the AL East and appeared in the AL Wild Card game, a contest that ended in an extra-inning loss for the Orioles.
After his eight-year tenure as Baltimore’s skipper came to a close, Showalter spent three seasons as a television analyst before the New York Mets announced his hiring in December of 2021.
Showalter joins a Mets team that has not made the playoffs since 2016, but has signed numerous sought-after free agents ahead of the 2022 season. He will manage newly-acquired starting pitchers Max Scherzer along with relief pitcher Adam Ottavino, and outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha.
New York’s starting rotation will feature stars in Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Bassitt at the top, while the starting lineup will showcase bats such as Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Brandon Nimmo, as the squad chases their first World Series title since 1986.
Showalter will return to managing for the first time since 2018, but is a seasoned veteran as a skipper with 20 years of MLB experience.
The team’s last long-term manager was Terry Collins, who held his position for seven seasons ending in 2017, as the Mets have gone through five different managers since 2011. Perhaps the missing puzzle piece to the Mets’ winning recipe is consistency at the helm, that of which Showalter will seek to give the organization come Opening Day.