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Davey Johnson

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Davey Johnson

A photo of Davey Johnson.

David Allen Johnson (born January 30, 1943 in Orlando, Florida) is a former Major League Baseball second baseman and later manager best remembered as the manager of the 1986 World Series champion New York Mets. He is currently a Senior Adviser for the Washington Nationals.

Playing careerEdit

After one season playing baseball at Texas A&M University, Johnson signed with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent in 1962. He made the team, and was in the opening day line-up for the 1965 season opener, but spent most of the season in the minors, where he batted .301 for the Rochester Red Wings. On June 13, 1966, the Orioles traded second baseman Jerry Adair to the Chicago White Sox to make room for Johnson at second base. He responded with a .257 batting average, seven home runs and 56 runs batted in to finish third in American League Rookie of the Year balloting for the 1966 World Series champions. In the 1966 World Series, Johnson earned the distinction of being the last person to get a hit off of Sandy Koufax.

Johnson reached the World Series again with the Orioles in 1969, 1970 and 1971, winning his only other ring as a player in 1970. He also won the AL Gold Glove Award at second base all three seasons. Orioles shortstop Mark Belanger won the award as well in 1969 and 1971, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations have won the honor in the same season while playing together. Third baseman Brooks Robinson also was in the middle of his record 16 straight Gold Glove streak when Johnson and Belanger won their awards.

Following the 1972 season, Johnson was traded with Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison and Johnny Oates to the Atlanta Braves for Taylor Duncan and Earl Williams. Johnson's best statistical year came in 1973 with the Braves when he tied Rogers Hornsby's record for most single-season home runs by a second baseman with 42 (he actually hit 43 that year, but one came as a pinch hitter - The Sporting News Baseball Record Book, 2007 p. 23). The 1973 Braves featured the first trio of teammates ever to all hit 40 home runs in the same season when Johnson hit 43, Darrell Evans hit 41, and Hank Aaron hit 40. Johnson's second-highest was 18 home runs in the 1971 season - considered to be a good number for second baseman, itself.

Four games into the 1975 season, Johnson was released by the Braves. He signed and played in the Japanese League for the Yomiuri Giants (1975–1976). He returned to America in 1977, signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies. During the 1978 season, Johnson hit two grand slam home runs as a pinch-hitter for the Phillies. Shortly afterwards, he was dealt to the Chicago Cubs, where he ended his playing career.

Seasons Games AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP Avg. OBP Slg. Fld%
13 1435 4797 564 1252 242 18 136 609 33 25 559 675 40 .261 .340 .404 .981

Johnson, batting against Jerry Koosman, was the last batter of the 1969 World Series - flying out to give the Mets their first World Championship. He would go on to manage the Mets to their second, with Jesse Orosco striking out the final batter. Coincidentally, the two pitchers had been traded for each other after the 1978 season. Johnson would manage Orosco again in Baltimore, as Orosco signed with the Orioles as a free agent in 1995, a year before Johnson arrived.

Managing careerEdit

Johnson managed the New York Mets (1984–1990), Cincinnati Reds (1993–1995), Baltimore Orioles (1996–1997), and Los Angeles Dodgers (1999–2000).

New York MetsEdit

Johnson began his managerial career in 1979 with the independent Miami Amigos of the Inter-American League. After guiding them to a 51-21 record, he became a coach in the New York Mets farm system. He won pennants in each of his three seasons in the minors, and within a few years was manager of the Mets' top farm team, the Tidewater Tides.

He took over the parent club, which hadn't won a pennant since 1973, in 1984, and was eager for success. Johnson went on to become the first National League manager to win at least 90 games in each of his first five seasons, with the highlight being winning the World Series in 1986 against the Boston Red Sox. Interestingly, while with the Baltimore Orioles, Johnson made the final out to clinch the Mets' first World Championship in 1969. However, Johnson rankled Mets management with his easygoing style. When the Mets struggled early in the 1990 season, he was fired. He is still the winningest manager in Mets history.

Cincinnati RedsEdit

After more than two seasons out of baseball, the Cincinnati Reds hired him 44 games into the 1993 season. As was the case with the Mets, Johnson revived the Reds almost immediately. He led the team to the National League Central lead at the time of the 1994 players' strike, and won the first official NL Central title in 1995.

However, early in the 1995 season, Reds owner Marge Schott announced Johnson would not return in 1996, regardless of how the Reds did. Schott named former Reds third baseman Ray Knight (who had also played for Johnson on the Mets championship team) as bench coach, with the understanding that he would take over as manager in 1996.

Johnson and Schott had never gotten along, and relations had deteriorated to the point that he'd nearly been fired after the 1994 season. By most accounts, the final straw came because Schott didn't approve of Johnson living with his then-fiancée, Susan, before they were married.[1]

Baltimore OriolesEdit

Almost immediately, Johnson returned to Baltimore as the Orioles' manager. Again, he breathed new life into a struggling franchise as the Orioles earned a wild-card playoff berth in 1996 (the Orioles' first trip to the postseason since winning the 1983 World Series) and the American League East title in 1997.

However, Johnson and Orioles owner Peter Angelos never got along; the two men almost never spoke to each other. The final straw reportedly came when Johnson fined Roberto Alomar for skipping a team banquet in April 1997 and an exhibition game against the Rochester Red Wings (the Orioles' top farm team at the time) during the 1997 All-Star Break. Johnson ordered Alomar to pay the fine by making out a check for a fine to a charity run by Johnson's wife, Susan. However, Alomar donated the money to another charity after players' union lawyers advised him of the possible conflict of interest. In negotiations after the season, Johnson was prepared to admit he'd made an error in judgment regarding the fine, but Angelos demanded that Johnson admit that he'd acted recklessly in not leaving the decision to him. Johnson refused to do so, and offered his resignation--which was accepted by Angelos on the same day that Johnson was named American League Manager of the Year.[1]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

In 1999, Johnson was hired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had beaten Johnson's heavily favored Mets in seven games in the 1988 National League Championship Series. Unfortunately, Johnson suffered the first full losing season of his managerial career, finishing in third place eight games under .500. While the Dodgers rebounded to second place the next year, it was not enough to save Johnson's job.

Managerial recordsEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYM1984 90 72 .556 2nd in NL East - - - -
NYM1985 98 64 .605 2nd in NL East - - - -
NYM1986 108 54 .667 1st in NL East 8 5 .615 Won World Series over Boston Red Sox
NYM1987 92 70 .568 2nd in NL East - - - -
NYM1988 100 60 .526 1st in NL East 3 4 .429 Lost NLCS to Los Angeles Dodgers
NYM1989 87 75 .537 2nd in NL East - - - -
NYM1990 20 22 .476 2nd in NL East - - - Fired in the middle of the season
CIN1993 53 65 .449 5th in NL West - - - -
CIN1994 66 48 .579 1st in NL Central - - - 1994 MLB strike
CIN1995 85 59 .590 1st in NL Central 3 4 .429 Lost NLCS to Atlanta Braves
BAL1996 84 78 .543 AL Wild Card 4 5 .444 Lost ALCS to New York Yankees
BAL1997 98 64 .605 1st in AL East 5 5 .500 Lost ALCS to Cleveland Indians
LA1999 77 85 .475 3rd in NL West - - - -
LA2000 86 76 .531 2nd in NL West - - - Fired at the end of the season
Total 1148888.564

2000 - presentEdit

Johnson briefly managed the Netherlands national team in 2003 during the absence of Robert Eenhoorn, then served as a bench coach under Eenhoorn at the 2004 Summer Olympics.[2] He then became manager of Team USA, where he managed the United States team to a seventh-place finish out of an 18-team field in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, held in The Netherlands. The team finished tied for second in its group during group play with a 6–2 record before falling, 11–3, to eventual winner and 24-time World Cup champion Cuba in the quarterfinals. A subsequent 9–0 loss to Nicaragua put the Americans into the seventh-place game with Puerto Rico, where they prevailed with an 11–3 win. Johnson also served as bench coach for Team USA during the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He managed the USA baseball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

On June 7, 2006, Johnson was hired by the Washington Nationals as a consultant to team general manager Jim Bowden. Bowden was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds when Johnson served as the team's manager.

Speculation that Johnson might be hired as manager of the Baltimore Orioles ended on August 22, 2007. The Orioles made interim manager Dave Trembley the permanent replacement for Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, who was fired on June 18, 2007. Johnson was the last skipper to guide the Orioles to a winning season.

In 2009 he managed Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

In November, 2009 Johnson was hired as a Senior Adviser by Washington Nationals.

Personal lifeEdit

He attended the Johns Hopkins University in addition to Texas A&M, and graduated from Trinity University in 1964 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. [1] He was known for taking a statistical approach to baseball. [2]

Johnson's daughter, Andrea, was a nationally-ranked amateur surfer in the late 1980s. However, Andrea died in 2005 from septic shock.

See alsoEdit

Preceded by:
Pete Rose
Major League Player of the Month
August, 1973
Succeeded by:
Tommy John
Preceded by:
Bobby Tolan
NL Comeback Player of the Year
Succeeded by:
Jimmy Wynn
Preceded by:
Frank Howard
New York Mets Manager
Succeeded by:
Bud Harrelson
Preceded by:
Tony Pérez
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by:
Ray Knight
Preceded by:
Phil Regan
Baltimore Orioles Manager
Succeeded by:
Ray Miller
Preceded by:
Joe Torre
Johnny Oates
American League Manager of the Year
Succeeded by:
Joe Torre
Preceded by:
Glenn Hoffman
Los Angeles Dodgers Manager
Succeeded by:
Jim Tracy


  1. 1.0 1.1 Maske, Mark. "Poor Communication at Heart of Feud", Washington Post, 1997-11-16. Retrieved on 2007-07-18.
  2. Kepner, Tyler. "Davey Johnson Has a Soft Spot for Dutch Baseball Team." The New York Times, 11 March 2009.

External linksEdit – Major league career managerial statistics

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