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Interesting passage about Buck from Chris Jaffe's book "Evaluating Baseball Managers"


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Note: This book came out before Buck took over as Orioles manager. There are some stuff in there which is pretty ironic. Note his record in one run games before he came to the Orioles.


Birnbaum Database: -34 runs

Individual Hitters: +111 runs

Individual Pitchers: O runs

Pythagenpat Difference: -89 runs

Team Offense: -17 runs

Team Defense; -39 runs

Team Characteristics: Showalter does not like small ball: his batters do not bunt and his runners do not steal. Since baseball tracking sacrifice hits in 1894, he is the Only manager to last a decade while never having a player collect ten sacrifice hits in a season. Instead, Showalter lives and dies on the big blast. Among managers who lasted at least ten years since 1920, he possesses the worst record in One-run games: 220-244 (.474).

The ultimate Buck Showalter moment came in the bottom Of the ninth on May 28, 1998. His Arizona squad, up 8?6, was only one out from victory, but the bases were loaded with Barry Bonds at the plate. Showalter made the highly unorthodox move to have Bonds intentionally walked, forcing a run home and putting the tying run 90 feet from the plate. The move worked, as the next batter, Brett Mayne, lined out. It is the sort of move few would consider, let alone dare attempt.

Showalter had enough courage in his convictions to make a he believed proper, without worrying about what anyone else thought. That exemplified Showalter ? love or hate him, everyone knew who was in charge. As a result, he received considerable credit for his team's victories, and equal blame for their defeats. Not surprisingly, his managerial reputation has waxed and waned over the years.

At one time, the conventional wisdom considered Showalter to be one Of baseball's sharpest and toughest minds. In 1995, he took the Yankees to their first postseason appearance in over a decade. The Yankees immediately dismissed him for losing in the first round of the playoffs, a move the public blamed on mercurial owner George Steinbrenner. By serving four years in New York, Showalter had lasted longer under the Bronx boss than any previous manager. When Showalter took over the newly established expansion Diamondbacks, his stature earned him an unusually large degree Of authority for a manager. Aided by the owner's generous spending, the team won 100 games in its second year of existence. They fell back the next year, causing Showalter to be fired, but he remained a well-respected field general. He combined a genuine air of authority with a track record of improving teams.

Showalter's reputation began to dim shortly afterwards. The Diamondbacks won the World Series immediately after firing him, just as the Yankees had done in 1996, their first year without Showalter. His luster had lessened, but had not fully dissipated.

In Texas, however, Showalter's reputation took a severe hit. People expected Showalter to take charge, and spend a year sorting out whom he did and did not like, just as he had done in New York and Arizona. The Rangers did markedly improve in his second season, but soon fell backwards. Instead Of flaying at 70 Wins, they muddled at 80 Wins: an improvement, but still disappointing. Amplifying the discontent, Showalter's controlling tendencies appeared to short circuit the team. He butted heads With superstar Alex Rodriguez, and the franchise traded him to the Yankees for slugging second baseman Alfonso Soriano. However, Soriano's production dropped instead of improving. Showalter thought that someone with Soriano's power should hit in the heart of the order, not near the top where he was accustomed to performing. Though the second baseman protested, Showalter figured the slugger would become accustomed to the new role. Nine times out of ten a manager would be right, but this was the tenth. Frustrated with yet another star infielder, Texas traded Soriano to Washington for Brad Wilkerson and some bit parts. Soriano hit 46 homers in Washington while Wilkerson hit under .23() in 2006?07. A pair of Showalter-driven trades had turned the league's best player into one of its worst outfielders. It was as though Brett Mayne had slugged a grand slam.

Showalter may still live up to his early promise. He is still fairly young (only 50 when Texas fired him after 2006), and has done a good job with two of his three squads _ However, if his next team does not prosper, Showalter might have a hard time getting hired again. Once someone gains a reputation as a journeyman manager, hiring opportunities erode.

Showalter generally did a good job making sure his hitters had the platoon advantage. According to the Tendencies Database, the following managers ranked the highest at having their squads bat with the platoon advantage:

Most Likely to Hit with Platoon Advantage

Whitey Herzog 0.476

Gene Mauch 0.587

Bruce Bochy 0.588

Buck Showalter 0.699

Billy Martin 0.706


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