Buck Showalter, Baseball Manager and History Teacher
To call Buck Showalter Old School would be akin to calling Pope Francis a devoted Catholic; both basically go without saying. The Baltimore Orioles manager turned into a history teacher to one young prospect in the team’s organization. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson visited the team’s spring training facility and was unknown to the prospect. His shameful lack of knowledge inspired Showalter to give the prospect a homework assignment.
Josh Hart was the 37th player selected in last year’sDraft. The Georgia high school star walked away from a scholarship for baseball at Georgia Tech after the Orioles gave him $1.45 Million to sign in late June. Hart did not know who Frank Robinson was when he visited the team’s training camp Monday. Showalter’s solution was to request that Josh Hart write a one page report about one of the greatest players in franchise and baseball history.
For those who also many not know, here are some of Frank Robinson’s baseball achievements:
Won the 1961 with the Cincinnati Reds.
Won the 1966 American League MVP in his first season with the Baltimore Orioles.
Winner of the 1966 American League Triple Crown.
Part of the 1966 and Championship in Baltimore. (Robinson was the MVP.)
Retired with 586 career Home Runs.
His #20 jersey is retired by both the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles.
Did we mention he was the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball History?
Buck Showalter once said that it was disrespectful for baseball players to wear their cap backwards. He made the comment about Ken Griffey, Jr., who was at the time, the best player in baseball. You won’t find anyone more respectful of where he works in sports than Buck Showalter. While it might sound foolish to some, giving respect to those who came before you takes little effort. And who knows, sometimes a little knowledge leads you to wanting a little bit more.
Baseball, more than all the other sports, is connected to its past. Learning the history of where you are going to work, in sports or in any other walk of life, is important to many people. I realize that athletes are drafted and don’t truly interview where they end up working.
One might think, maybe, just maybe someone would be compelled and inspired to learn something about the history of where they work. Josh Hart’s work ethics will hopefully prove stronger than his yearning for knowledge of baseball history.