Once upon a time, when the Arizona Diamondbacks wore purple and turquoise uniforms, Buck Showalter was their manager.
From 1996 (two years before the D-backs ever played a game) to 2000, Showalter skippered the team — even guiding them to an NL West crown in just their second year of existence.
Thirteen years later, Showalter returned to Chase Field as a manager. This time though, he’s in the first base dugout and is wearing the black and orange of the Baltimore Orioles.
“It’s great,” Showalter told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf about the reception he got from D-backs fans during the three-game Interleague series. “The fans were great to me here and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t realize what an honor it was to be allowed to do this.
“Mr. Colangelo and the ownership and the fans were great to me and my family and they got the perfect guy to come in and take it to the next level in Bob Brenly. It’s something I’ll always be proud of, being allowed to be a part of it here.”
After a disappointing third-place finish in 2000, the Diamondbacks fired Showalter and replaced him with Brenly, their former television color commentator who led them to their only World Series championship in his first year on the job.
Showalter has many memories of his days in the desert, including the challenge of outfitting his team on a day-to-day basis at the dawn of the franchise.
“I remember having to go down to Macy’s, our clubbie did, and we got a mannequin and put him in the middle of the locker room,” Showalter reminisced. “We had two or three hose, we had two or three belts, we had five hats, we had four jerseys. Our guys could never get out on the field with the same thing on.
“We had to dress the mannequin every day to make sure we had the right uni on. And those Sunday white hats? Ooh, that was tough.”
That’s especially interesting, considering that Showalter had a hand in the team’s uniform design.
After posting a 250-236 record in four years with the D-backs, Showalter went on to manage the Texas Rangers for four seasons from 2003 to 2006 and then joined ESPN as a studio analyst before returning to the dugout with the Orioles midway through the 2010 season.
After 15 seasons with four different clubs, Showalter believes his days as a field manager are numbered.
“You approach each job like it’s your last job,” he said. “I feel that way, guys. I just think you see the end of the light sometimes, the end of the tunnel. Who knows?”
Showalter has posted a .522 winning percentage in parts of four seasons with Baltimore.