BALTIMORE -- Like so many in baseball, Brandon Hyde grew up knowing who Buck Showalter was. So over the years, that strange thing that happens to those who rise through their desired profession started happening to Hyde. Once a role model, Showalter morphed into an influential peer. Someone Hyde saw
BALTIMORE -- Like so many in baseball, Brandon Hyde grew up knowing who Buck Showalter was. So over the years, that strange thing that happens to those who rise through their desired profession started happening to Hyde. Once a role model, Showalter morphed into an influential peer. Someone Hyde saw from across the dugout, not just on TV. Someone who ran in similar circles.
Which is why none of it is lost on Hyde, how tall the task replacing Showalter will be. Despite the Orioles' 115-loss 2018 season, Showalter remains beloved in the Charm City, where he won 669 games over eight-and-a-half seasons and led the O's to three postseason appearances.
"I have so much respect for Buck Showalter," Hyde said. "As a young coach, that was somebody I looked up to. Watching him on ESPN, that's Buck Showalter, listening to him. A couple of my close friends are close friends of his, too. There is some mutual respect there."
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Now, Hyde has Showalter's old office. And in truth, the situation Hyde inherits isn't all that dissimilar to the one Showalter did when he replaced interim skipper Juan Samuel in August 2010. The Orioles were in the middle of a 13-year postseason drought then, and they finished as high as third in the American League East only once during that stretch.
Another last-place finish awaited Showalter in his first full season in Baltimore, but the O's quickly improved around an emerging core of young players that included Adam Jones, Zach Britton and, eventually, Manny Machado. The Orioles won 93 games in 2012 to secure an AL Wild Card spot, claimed the AL East in '14 and captured another Wild Card berth two years later.
All told, Showalter's 669 victories rank second most in franchise history behind Earl Weaver, who is so revered in Baltimore that a photo of him hangs in Hyde's new office.
"I am going to be me," Hyde said. "But I have a ton of respect for who has been in that chair for the last eight or nine years."
Of course, Showalter didn't do it alone. His tenure ran concurrent with that of then-general manager Dan Duquette, who spearheaded the Orioles' rebuild under Showalter. Their relationship was far from perfect, and both were dismissed after the O's window of contention closed emphatically last season. But the duo will be remembered for achieving what Hyde and new GM Mike Elias strive to now: building the Orioles back to relevance after a serious dark phase, and despite myriad challenges.
"The past era here was hugely successful," Elias said. "It was done against a lot of odds and a lot of expectations. I'm incredibly impressed with what the last group did here. It came to an end the last year. And this is a new era. I'm new. [Hyde] is new. [Replacing Showalter] wasn't part of my thought process [in hiring Hyde]. It was just getting the right person for this next era. What team we have now, how we're going to approach things, what we're going through, that's really what was on my mind."
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.