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Thursday, July 19, 2012

WaPo—Boswell: Davey Johnson is in the midst of one of his best seasons

90% of Boz’s column is about Davey’s management of the bench and bullpen in late innings (and is RTFA stuff), but it’s his conclusion that provides the best argument-fodder:

It seems curious that Johnson’s baseball legacy is still so unfinished. He has the second-highest winning percentage of any living manager with more than six seasons’ experience, behind only Earl Weaver. Of all the men who have managed 1,000 games since 1900, only six have a better record than Johnson. All are in the Hall of Fame. The average Johnson team in his 16 years has gone 91-71. And he’s done it while taking over five different clubs, all of them mediocre to miserable when he got there. Counting the Nats, four became big winners.

So, it’s hard to believe Johnson’s talents aren’t fully appreciated. But they aren’t. He was out of the majors for 11 years, partly because of a period of very bad health, partly by choice, but also because the phone didn’t ring. He was great at handling players. Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo says, “Davey is so good at handling players that most of them don’t know they’re being handled.” But who was going to handle Davey? Now, that no longer seems a problem.

Perhaps this last time around the track, with the Nationals, it will be the final performance that brings Johnson into clear focus. Beneath the grandfatherly appearance and the Texas twang, the harder you examine his latest work, the better his final baseball portrait looks.

Esoteric Posted: July 19, 2012 at 02:26 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baltimore, cincinnati, hall of fame, mets, nationals, new york, orioles, reds, washington

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   1. Joey B. Posted: July 19, 2012 at 08:37 AM (#4186839)
Looking back on it now, Riggleman quitting in his bizarre, prideful little snit is one of the best things that could have ever possibly happened to this team.

In the blink of an eye, we went from having one of the worst managers in the history of baseball to one of the best. Things like that almost never happen, especially to teams in this town.
   2. Chris Needham Posted: July 19, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4186858)
In the blink of an eye, we went from having one of the worst managers in the history of baseball

Now now. They fired Manny Acta in 2009.
   3. Joey B. Posted: July 19, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4186863)
Good point; Acta has been pretty horrible. It's hard to believe he actually got Manager of the Year votes in '07!
   4. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4186890)
Even if Riggleman hadn't walked off in mid season Davey would still be the manager this season.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4186899)
good to see davey get some recognition

   6. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4186997)
What does Davy do that makes him such a great manager? From my perspective, very little, all he does is win.
   7. Esoteric Posted: July 19, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4187034)
What does Davy do that makes him such a great manager? From my perspective, very little, all he does is win.
Clever.

Actually though, do RTFA because Boz spends a lot of time breaking down just how ridiculously great a job Johnson has done getting production off the bench this season. It's not just a question of the guys he's chosen for those roles, it's the way he's used them and the inarguable results. This is one of the few things that managers actually have a direct effect upon, both long-term (in terms of roster composition) and on a day-to-day basis, and Davey's nailed it.
   8. jobu Posted: July 19, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4187053)
He has the second-highest winning percentage of any living manager with more than six seasons’ experience, behind only Earl Weaver.

I find myself surprised every couple of years to find that Earl Weaver is still living. He seemed old when I was a kid in the 1970s, and he hasn't managed in 25 years. But there he is, 81 years old and still kicking.

The average Johnson team in his 16 years has gone 91-71. And he’s done it while taking over five different clubs, all of them mediocre to miserable when he got there. Counting the Nats, four became big winners.

Imagine if you could cycle Davey Johnson and Billy Martin--let them manage till they wore out their welcomes, then alternate.
   9. Srul Itza Posted: July 19, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4187077)
Somebody needs to page Chris Jaffe to this thread.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: July 19, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4187094)
Imagine if you could cycle Davey Johnson and Billy Martin--let them manage till they wore out their welcomes, then alternate.


The difference, it seems, is that Davey only seemed to wear out his welcome with management (it didn't help much his choice of employers). Billy wore his out with everyone.

   11. jobu Posted: July 19, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4187110)
The difference, it seems, is that Davey only seemed to wear out his welcome with management (it didn't help much his choice of employers). Billy wore his out with everyone.

Precisely. Let Davey show the players some love for a few years, then when they get soft, go to the whip.

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