Bowa was an outstanding shortstop who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets between 1970 and 1985. He was characterized by his soft hands, strong arm, and fiery personality. Beside his fielding achievements, he was a decent right-handed hitter, batting .280 or better four times (.305 in 1975); he was also a good basestealer, and seldom struck out.
After retiring, Bowa was named manager of the San Diego Padres in 1987, but his aggressive and often angry style was ineffective, and he was fired a year later. Bowa returned to managing the Phillies in 2001, being honored as Manager of the Year that season. He was fired at the end of the 2004 season.
Bowa currently serves as an analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and also co-hosts a baseball talk show on XM Radio.
- Holds the MLB records for fielding average by a shortstop for a career (.980) and for a single season (.991)
- Held the NL record for games played at shortstop (2,222)
- 9-times led NL shortstops in fewest errors in a season of 150 or more games
- 6-times led NL shortstops in fielding average
- 2 Gold Glove Awards (1972, 1978)
- 5-time All-Star (1974–76, 1978–79)