New York Mets manager Buck Showalter is due.
In 1995, the New York Yankees reached the postseason for the first time since 1981. By Yankees standards, even with a smaller postseason field, this was a long drought, and the front office celebrated by firing the manager. The next season, with Joe Torre as manager, the Yankees won the World Series, and proceeded to win in 1998, 1999, and 2000.
In 1999, in only their second season of existence, the Arizona Diamondbacks won 100 games and the NL West title. This miraculous achievement was followed the next season by the inevitable regression to the mean, to which the front office responded by firing the manager. During the 2001 season, with Bob Brenly as manager, the Diamondbacks played in the World Series for the only time in their history and upset the heavily favored Yankees in a seven-game thriller.
In both of those cases, the manager who got fired just before the team won the World Series was Buck Showalter. In 2006, Showalter was fired by the Rangers and replaced by Ron Washington. It took Washington five years, and the only reason he didn’t win a World Series was that his bullpen blew a 7-4 lead in the eighth inning and a 9-7 lead in the tenth inning of Game Six against the Cardinals. Still, many of the core players from that team, such as Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Nelson Cruz, got their start under Showalter.
The pattern finally broke itself with the Orioles, partly because they were the first team to let Showalter stick around more than four years. He took over a team in 2010 that was 32-73 and led them to a 34-23 finish. Two years later, he had his team in the playoffs. In his fifth year, Baltimore advanced to the ALCS but got swept by Kansas City.
It stands to reason that if the Orioles had fired Showalter at that point, they would have won the World Series the next year. But they bucked the trend and kept Showalter until they had dismantled the roster in 2018, a teardown from which they have just emerged.
There will be a great deal written over the next few weeks about how Dusty Baker is due for a World Series title, and deservedly so. But Showalter has built at least two championship cores without being able to stick around to reap the rewards, and he has succeeded this year with a New York Mets team that had a recent history of self-sabotage.
It is unlikely that both of these veteran managers will reach the World Series and force us to choose which sentimental story tugs our hearts more. However, both have been managing for most of the last three decades, both are among the twenty winningest managers in major league history, and both are due for a little postseason luck.