Today marks the first time Davey Johnson has managed a major league baseball game since the 2000 season and you know what? Even at 68 years of age and having not managed in the major leagues for a decade he is just about as good as they come when it comes to “baseball guys”.
Johnson began his major league career as a player having signed on with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent in 1962. It was not until the 1965 season that he finally made his major league debut playing in just 20 games for the Orioles that but it was the start of major league playing career that would see Johnson play games in 13 different seasons at the major league level.
As a player Johnson was a 4 time all star who won 3 consecutive gold gloves while playing second base for the Batlimore Orioles. He was also a key contributor as a player with 2 World Series championship teams first in 1966 while playing in his first full season with the Baltimore Orioles and then again in 1970 while still with the Baltimore Orioles. In total Johnson played in 4 World Series with the Orioles (66, 69, 70 and 71) before being traded to Atlanta before the start of the 1973 season. Although the Braves missed the playoffs that season it was Johnson’s finest year as a player statistically speaking having belted 43 home runs and drove in 99 rbi’s both of which were by far his career highs. Johnson’s played in 1,435 combined games spread out amongst 4 different teams.
Johnson retired from playing following the 1978 season and jumped in to a managerial position right away managing at the minor league level from 1979 through 1983 before he took over as the manager of the Mets in 1984. Johnson enters todays game having already won a total of 1,148 regular season games at the major league level and has a career .564 winning percentage as a manager at the major league level. His .564 winning percentage ranks 10th all time out of the 56 managers who have won at least 1,000 games on there career. So when you look at his career wins and the fact that he also won a World Series as a manager in 1986 as well as 2 more World Series as a player and it would be fair to say he is a guy who knows a thing or two about winning.
Johnson has had some success with every team that he has managed whether it be the Mets who he helped steer to a World Series championship, the Reds who helped get to the 1995 NLCS, the Orioles who helped get to the 96 and 97 ALCS in his only two seasons with them or the Dodgers who won 86 games under him in 2000.
Johnson is one of the most respected minds in baseball today and for as long as he ends up being a manager for the Nationals (more than likely just until the end of this season) it will definitely be nice to have him.