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In a professional sport like baseball, where player talent and organizational characteristics are very comparable among the many teams, innovation can make the deciding difference. Tony LaRussa’s management of his bullpen, Charlie Phillips’ starting rotation decisions for Philadelphia, and Ray Washington’s lineup shifts for the Rangers demonstrate how agility can control the outcome.
Johnson’s version of this was to make savvy adjustments in the outfield and at first base, and to develop new strategies in the set-up and closer positions for the Nationals. La Russa, Washington, Leland, Phillips—they’re all accomplished leaders and managers. Yet even with his young team, Davey Johnson has earned the right to join this elite club. His players, like McGraw’s, played with the look of eagles.
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