After being out of baseball management for over a decade, Davey Johnson has dusted off his cleats and taken over as the Washington Nationals new on-field boss. It’s Johnson’s fifth job managing in the big leagues after stints with The New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Dodgers in the past.
His overall record stands at 1,148-888 and he has a World Series ring which he won with the Mets back in 1986. His last job, with the Dodgers, ended in 2000. However he managed the American Olympic team in 2008.
Johnson also enjoyed a 13-year career as a second baseman in the Major Leagues with stops in Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and the Chicago Cubs. He also played a year in Japan in 1975-1976 and retired as a player in 78.
He managed to hit 136 home runs and 609 RBIs with a .261 batting average in a total of 1,435 games. He played on two World Series winning teams with Baltimore, played in four all-star games, and won three gold gloves.
The Nationals lost their manager Jim Riggleman on June 24 after he resigned over a contract dispute and John McLaren took over as interim manager. The 68-year-old Johnson was already a member of the Nationals organization as he was a senior advisor to general manager Mike Rizzo. He takes over a club that has a shot at the wild card playoff spot in the National League if they can stay out of any extended slumps for the rest of the season.
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington’s third baseman, said he had the opportunity to get to know Johnson during spring training and found him to be an excellent baseball guy. He feels the new manager will be happy and excited with the group of players in Washington and the chemistry they have with each other.
Right-handed pitcher Jason Marquis added that he remembered watching Johnson guide the Mets to their last World Series title when Marquis was a kid growing up in the Big Apple in 1986. He said Johnson is a great person with an amazing baseball mind and brings an excellent track record with him. He feels it’s also an advantage that Johnson is already in the organization and knows all of the players and their strengths and weaknesses.
Ray Knight, who is now a Mid-Atlantic Sports Network broadcaster, played for Johnson while he was with the Mets and won the World Series MVP award in 86. He then coached under him in Cincinnati. He said Johnson is a players’ manager with a brilliant mind for the game. He said he enjoyed playing for Johnson more than any other manager during his career.
He added that Johnson doesn’t ask too much of his players and is an easy manager to play for. He stays calm and doesn’t scream and shout like some managers do. Knight said that Johnson does expect players and coaches to fulfil their responsibilities though and his soft and quiet way usually brings the best out in his teams.