Davey Johnson: The D.C. Brain Trust
By: Mike Asti
The 2011 MLB managerial carousel continues spinning at rapid pace. After the Washington Nationals were stunned to learn their manager, Jim Riggelman was resigning and leaving the team, a franchise with hopes for a bright future seemed to be in turmoil. The Nats brass wasted no time in putting a plan of action together. Baseball returned to the D.C area in 2005 and the organization is determined it will be eventually be a winner. Despite a winning streak and .500 record, Riggleman felt disrespected by not receiving a contract extension or even much communication discussing the possibility of keeping him around long term. Riggleman saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He was well aware a repaired Stephen Strasburg and a young phenom, Bryce Harper would be in the fold very soon. Unfortunately, the franchise did not appear to be gun hoe about fully handing him the keys to a potential Cadillac in the making. Right or wrong, the Nationals have every right in the world to go in whatever direction they feel is best. My full thoughts on the Riggleman debacle can be heard here: The Howitzer and Buzz-saw Show.
Now back to present day. The Washington Nationals have found their guy, at least for now. Baseball lifer, Davey Johnson will take over the reigns on an interim basis. Johnson, best known for leading the 1986 New York Mets to their last World Series title, will serve as the teams new manager temporarily. Johnson will manager the club for the remainder of the season and then enter the Nationals brain trust, as part of the decision making process for the future. Mike Rizzo, the teams General Manager, feels Johnson brings a winning tradition and tons of knowledge perfect for this gig. “Davey’s a perfect fit for this job at this particular time,” Rizzo said. “He’s a guy with a track record that’s beyond reproach. He knows the system, he knows the staff, he knows the major league club and he’s a terrific baseball guy and a proved winning manager.” Once the 2011 campaign comes to a close, Johnson’s real task will begin. He is a baseball mind capable of knowing the qualities needed to handle a rookie super-star ego maniac, as well as, a team blended with some grizzled veterans and a mostly inexperienced roster. That knowledge, coupled with the first hand experience gained by doing the job himself, appears invaluable. The current plan, dubbed “plan-B,” by Rizzo, makes Davey Johnson an adviser and the main asset in choosing the franchises next leader.
Here’s Davey Johnson’s brief baseball resume:
- Johnson Captured 2 World Series titles (1966 & 1970) over a 13 year MLB career as a player.
- He won both rings with the Baltimore Orioles.
- Johnson also played for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs.
- His career batting average, .261.
- Despite being mostly remembered for his managerial success, Johnson owns 3 Gold Gloves, the 1973 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, and 4 All-Star appearances during his playing days.
- Prior to the Nationals job, Johnson managed 2,038 games.
- Johnson’s managerial winning percentage pre-2011, .564%.
- The New York Mets (1984-1990), Cincinnati Reds (1993-1995), Baltimore Orioles (1996-1997), Los Angeles Dodgers (1999-2000) all were caps Johnson wore as a manager before adding the Washington Nationals to the hat rack.
- While Johnson is best known for winning the 1986 World Series with this group of lunatics, he also had success in his other stops. Johnson lead the Reds to the 1995 NL Central title before falling in the NLCS to Atlanta and captained the Orioles to back to back ALCS appearances.
- Davey Johnson earned individual honors as a manager, he won the 1997 AL Manager of the Year Award.
- He served as bench coach in 2006 and manager in 2009 for team USA in the World Baseball Classic.