Washington Nationals: Is Davey Johnson A Hall Of Famer?


With former Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson on the Todays Game Era Ballot for the Hall Of Fame, we examine his HOF candidacy

Yesterday, former Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson was one of ten names that are on the Today’s Game Ballot by the Hall Of Fame Veterans Committee. The committee will vote on these names December 5 to see if any of them will be elected to Cooperstown. Some of those names besides Johnson are first baseman Mark McGwire and former commissioner Bud Selig.

Out of the ten names, Johnson is the only one with ties to the Washington Nationals organization. Johnson filled in as the interim manager for the Nats in June 27 after the team decided to part ways with Jim Riggleman and John McLaren. He went 40-43 the rest of the way and stayed as the manager for the next two seasons.

In D.C, Johnson is well known for taking the Washington Nationals to their first postseason in 2012. That season, the Nats went 98-64 and won their first NL East title. However, that season didn’t come without its fair share of controversy.

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Of course, that was the season where the Nats decided to shut down Stephen Strasburg during the year due to an innings limit. Strasburg didn’t pitch in the postseason and the Nats ended up losing in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Johnson went on to manage the 2013 season, but the Nats went 86-76 and failed to make the playoffs. He would retire at season’s end.

While Johnson’s tenure in D.C. could be clouded by a what if in the Strasburg situation, it should be viewed as a success because Johnson was the exact type of manager the organization needed to get them to that first postseason berth.

Before Johnson was the Washington Nationals manager, he was a successful manager in other places. Everyone remembers him as the manager of the 1986 New York Mets, who went on to win the World Series that season. Plus, he reached the postseason with two other teams. In 1995, the Cincinnati Reds made the playoffs and were swept by the Braves in the NLCS.

After his stint with Reds, Johnson went on to manage the Baltimore Orioles from 1996-1997. Johnson led the O’s to the ALCS in both of those seasons, but controversy surrounds 1996 as well since the O’s lost Game 1 to the Yankees that postseason on the Jeffrey Maier play.

Before Johnson became a manager, he was a good player in his own right. He won two Gold Gloves, made it to four All-Star teams, and won two World Series titles with the Orioles (1966 and 1970). In 1973, Johnson hit 43 home runs with the Atlanta Braves. The 43 home runs were second in the National League behind Willie Stargell (Pirates).

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When looking back at Johnson’s career, he accomplished a good amount as both a player and manager. He took four different teams to the playoffs, which is something the Nats current manager, Dusty Baker, has done. He has a good case to be elected into the Hall Of Fame. Now, it’s up to the committee.