ARLINGTON, Texas – Buck Showalter was out as the manager of the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, ending four seasons in which he was never able to get a team with several young All-Stars above third place in the AL West.
Texas was 80-82 this season, its sixth losing record in seven years since last making the playoffs in 1999. Showalter was 319-329 with the Rangers, his third managerial job, and still had three seasons left on his contract.
Showalter was the AL manager of the year only two years ago, when after AL MVP Alex Rodriguez was traded in the spring the Rangers remained in playoff contention until an 11-inning loss in the 158th game of the season.
Showalter didn’t immediately return calls from The Associated Press.
The Rangers were 89-73 in 2004, the fourth-best record in team history and an 18-win improvement over 2003. They finished only three games back in the AL West, but still in third place behind the division-winning Angels and Oakland.
But the Rangers weren’t able to build off the momentum of that unexpected playoff chase. They backtracked last year with only 79 victories, and were only one game better than that this season.
Girardi, the potential NL manager of the year and a candidate to replace Baker in Chicago, could also be pursued by the Rangers. Current bench coach Don Wakamatsu could be another candidate.
Showalter’s firing came the day after owner Tom Hicks had dinner at his home with Jon Daniels, his 29-year-old general manager, and Showalter for what he said he would be a “candid conversation” about what went wrong this season.
The 50-year-old Showalter, whose contract was extended after the 2005 season, is still owed about $5 million to $6 million from the Rangers. His overall record is 882-833, including four seasons with the New York Yankees (1992-95) and three in Arizona (1998-00).
Bucky’s poor managerial moves in a playoff series vs Seattle cost him his job in New York. Baseball recycles managers all the time. If as poor a manager as John McNamara could keep on finding work, Showalter may not be done managing in the majors yet.
The title of my post refers to the days Bucky was manager of the Ft. Lauderdale Yankees Class A baseball team. I attended a few games with my father and fans would yell “Kick dirt on him Bucky!” when Showalter went out to argue with an umpire.
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