Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Buck Wins NL Manager of the Year, First For A Met Skipper


Buck Showalter in October. Photo by Jason Schott.

Mets Manager Buck Showalter was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) on Tuesday night.

Showalter led the Mets to 101 wins, the second-most in franchise history to the 1986 team's 108 wins, in his first year in Flushing. He is the first Mets skipper to win over 100 games in his first season with the club. He also is just the second manager, along with Yogi Berra, to take the Mets and Yankees to the postseason.

He is the first Mets Manager to win the award, which was established in 1983. He received 77 out of a possible 150 voting points, with 30 first place votes. He edged out the Atlanta Braves' Brian Snitker and Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts.

"Every day you spend in the big leagues is an honor, and I've never forgotten that " Showalter told MLB Network after the announcement. "I've had a, even being able to work with you guys (the anchors at MLBN), and understand that we're all just trying to make our game a little better and impact some people's lives along the way, and make sure they don't make the mistakes we all make. You learn from them, and you try to treat people the way you'd like to be treated, and also try to share some things that help them get where they want to go.

"I didn't start coaching or managing with the idea I was going to be a Major League manager. You just take each job, you work the heck out of it, and see if somebody thinks you can do something else. 

"Every situation's different, and I was very fortunate to be asked by some really good people to join them and I'm honored that we're here today."

This is the fourth Manager of the Year Award for Showalter, who also won it in 1994 when he was with the Yankees, 2004 with the Texas Rangers, and 2014 when he was at the helm of the Baltimore Orioles. Those three were all with American League teams, so this is his first with the senior circuit.

Showalter's four Manager of the Year honors is tied with Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa. He is now one of eight managers to win it in both leagues, along with Cox, LaRussa, Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland, Bob Melvin, Davey Johnson, and Joe Maddon.

Mets Owner, Chairman, and CEO Steve Cohen said in a statement released by the club, "This is a well-deserved honor. There is no doubt Buck had the players' respect and they played hard for him. He is one of the sharpest minds in the game and he builds a winning culture."

Showalter has a 1,652-1,578 career record as a manager, and his 1,652 wins place him 19th all-time in Major League history, and third among current managers behind Dusty Baker and Terry Francona. Baker just led the Houston Astros to the World Series, and Francona, who has led Cleveland since 2013, won his third American League Manager of the Year award on Tuesday night.

Mets General Manager Billy Eppler said in a statement, "Buck poured every ounce of himself into making the Mets better on a daily basis. I'm thrilled the voters recognized what I got to witness every day this season."

Showalter was asked what is different from when he first won the award with the Yankees in 1994 to now, and he said, "Well, you know, sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. You still have to do the same things to be successful in our game; we just have a lot of different ways to verify it, some of the guts that you have. There's a lot more stuff analytically that you can use to verify what your eyes and your experience may tell you. There's a lot of different ways to skin a cat, and you can either embrace things that might make your team better - I told (Mets General Manager) Billy Eppler very early I'm not going to dare look across the field and think someone has a piece of information that we may not have, or say no to anything. Everyone should be challenged by what they think, and you want to make everyone feel like they're pulling on the same page.

"The game has changed, but it's stayed the same a lot. You confuse change with a lack of respect for tradition sometimes, and I think you adapt or die, and you understand there are things you need to embrace if someone can present them to you properly, and you need to present it properly back, and have respect for what everybody brings, and that's what good organizations do."

Showalter is a big reason the Mets made a massive step and won 101 games, as he instilled a culture that gave his players an intense focus, and lifted players like Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo to new heights. While the season ended with a thud, as they lost to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round, they certainly will be a favorite to win the World Series next season.

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