Nationals Name Davey Johnson Field Manager

Yesterday, the Washington Nationals announced that Davey Johnson has been named to serve as field manager and will be in uniform today for the Nationals game against the Los Angeles Angels. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Johnson, a senior advisor to Rizzo since 2009, will direct the Nationals on the field for the remainder of the 2011 season. He also agreed to a three-year consulting contract that will have him remain with the Nationals after this season and allow him to participate in the hiring of his successor. 

“We could have absolutely no better choice to lead the Nationals at this time than Davey Johnson,” Rizzo said. “He knows the game, he knows our players, he knows our fans, he knows the Washington, DC area, and he knows exactly what we need to be doing to build the Nationals into a contender.”

Rizzo said he and Johnson talked about the appointment immediately after Jim Riggleman announced his resignation suddenly Thursday. He said Johnson agreed to manage for the remainder of the season and would work with Rizzo during the postseason to evaluate management needs for 2012.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have Davey Johnson as a member of our staff and one who can provide so much immediate leadership and credibility,” said Theodore N. Lerner, Nationals Managing Principal Owner. “He has been valuable as an advisor, and he’ll be even more valuable as our field manager. I believe our fans and our players will love having him at the helm and will feel confident with his leadership.”

A former World Series winning player and manager, Johnson assumes the helm of the Nationals, his fifth Big League Club. Johnson previously skippered four Big League teams—the Mets, Reds, Orioles and Dodgers—for 14 seasons, compiling a 1148-888 record and a .564 career winning percentage that ranks second to only Earl Weaver (.583) among living managers with 10 or more years of experience. 

In 14 Big League seasons, Johnson’s Clubs finished first or second 11 times, including five division titles, one pennant and one World Championship earned with the Mets in 1986. Johnson’s Clubs authored six 90-win campaigns and his 1994 Reds were on pace for 94 wins and led the NL Central at the time of the strike. His 1986 and ’88 Mets registered triple-digit win totals, posting 108 and 100 victories, respectively.

In 1997, Johnson was named American League Manager of the Year after guiding the Orioles to a 98-64 (.605) record. Those ’97 Orioles claimed the AL East flag, finishing 2.0 games ahead of the 96-win Yankees.

He is one of only seven living men to have won a World Series ring as a player and manager, joining Alvin Dark, Joe Girardi, Ralph Houk, Lou Piniella, Mike Scioscia and Red Schoendienst.

Johnson joined the Nationals on Nov. 18, 2009 after managing Team USA to a semifinals berth in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Johnson has managed or coached five Team USA professional squads since 2005, including the 2008 Olympic team.

As a player, Johnson hit .261 with 136 home runs and 609 RBI in 13 Big League seasons during a career that included a stint in Japan. Johnson was a four-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves, played in five postseasons and earned a pair of World Series rings with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970. He also owns the distinction that he was the only player to have hit behind Hank Aaron and Japan’s all-time home run king, Sadaharu Oh.

Johnson was among the 10 finalists for consideration among Managers and Umpires for Hall of Fame election through the Veterans Committee in 2009.

1 Comment

Good to see the older generation represented as managers with Davey, Jack McKean, and Jim Leyland.

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