Mets manager Buck Showalter during practice at Citi Field, Wednesday,...

Mets manager Buck Showalter during practice at Citi Field, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2022. Credit: Noah K. Murray

For a franchise most known for volatility and fragility, Buck Showalter was a wrought iron gate – a steady but complex manager who knew how to corral his players without suffocating them, and a facilitator who approached baseball with artistry and logic, making him the National League manager of the year.

Showalter Tuesday became the first Mets manager to ever earn the honor, guiding the team to a 101-win season – the second-winningest year in franchise history. It’s the fourth time he’s earned the manager of the year, which is voted on before the postseason. He’s the only manager to win it with four different teams: Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are also four-time winners, and he’s the only one to not have won a World Series.

"It was always about the players and it was always about wanting to adjust to what the players need as opposed to the other way around," Showalter said. "The one common thing I've tried to maintain is that when I come into a situation is that not everything there is wrong or bad."

Showalter championed that: He often asked for input from others, didn't think he had all the answers, and insisted excess personnel didn’t have lockers in the clubhouse. (He allowed Pete Alonso to install a well-loved pool table in the clubhouse, to great effect.)

"It's an honor," Showalter said. "Don't get me wrong. I just look at it as an organizational reflection."

Though operating with a number of key roster upgrades, including the blockbuster contract that brought Max Scherzer into the fray, Showalter nonetheless tethered a wayward Mets team after a season where they won just 77 games. His steady demeanor, even-handed approach to data, and his rapport with players was pivotal as the Mets navigated key injuries, including lengthy ones to Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, along with the incessant pressure presented from an Atlanta team that, at one point, won 14 straight games.

Regardless, Showalter has built his empire not on wins, but on understanding people – his players first and foremost.

”You can’t hide sincerity in a sport that you play seven days a week,” he said. “A phony gets sniffed out in a hurry. It’s a very real game.”

He beat out Atlanta’s Brian Snitker and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts. Showalter and Roberts, the latter of which led his talent-laden team to 111 wins, each got 10 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, thought Showalter was the overwhelming favorite with second-place votes. Snitker got seven first-place votes.  All three managers suffered unexpectedly early ousters in the playoffs.

Showalter previously won the award with the Yankees in 1994, the Rangers in 2004, and in 2014 with the Orioles. He’s also the first manager to record over 100 wins in his first season with the franchise. He has 1,652 career wins, 19th all-time in major-league history and third among active managers behind Dusty Baker and Terry Francona.

“Buck poured every ounce of himself into making the Mets better on a daily basis,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. “I’m thrilled the voters recognized what I got to witness every day this season.”

But for the Mets, Showalter insisted on letting players be themselves.

"You treat people like you want to be treated regardless of what ie may have in store for you," he said. "If it's always about, 'what's in it for me?' you're in the wrong profession."

Buck Showalter joins Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa as the only four-time winners of the Manager of the Year award. He is the first to win with four different franchises.

Showalter

1994 Yankees

2004 Rangers

2014 Orioles

2022 Mets

Cox

1985 Blue Jays

1991 Atlanta

2004 Atlanta

2005 Atlanta

La Russa

1983 White Sox

1988 Athletics

1992 Athletics

2002 Cardinals

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