Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson led the NL East Champion Nats to a 98-64 record this season and helped bring postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933. Asked in early October about the possibility of winning the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award for his efforts in his first full-year back on the bench since 2000, the Nats' 69-year-old skipper said it wasn't necessarily something he had good feelings about after having won the award before.
"I just have bad thoughts about that," Johnson joked, referring to the fact that he'd won the award when he was in Baltimore only to get fired after leading the 1997 Orioles to a 98-64 record. "Last time I got the award, the same time I got my pink slip. I'm not big on individual awards. It's always been, 'What's the team doing as a group?' Being in the playoffs, that's step one. Winning the division is step two and winning the World Series is step three. As far as individual awards? That's nice. I guess it's fun to be considered by your peers as [having] a decent year, but it's not a big deal to me."
Davey Johnson was named The Sporting News' NL Manager of the Year this afternoon. The winner of the award, as noted in a press release this afternoon, is, "... selected by a panel of 17 major league managers." Johnson was quoted in the release saying that the fact that it was a selection made by his peers meant a lot to him:
"To be recognized by my fellow comrades, a particularly accomplished bunch, makes this award especially meaningful. I send my thanks to them and the folks at Sporting News, as well as the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo for giving me the opportunity to manage such a special, talented group of men. To put on the uniform every day and compete is an honor I never take for granted."
"In baseball, in this day and time," Johnson told reporters earlier this month when asked about his reputation as a player's manager, "you have to be totally aware of what every [one of] the 25 guys are going through. I haven't had to be fatherly with any of them. I've had to be fatherly in the past with some players. You've got to be aware of what's going on and you've got to try and help them any way you can. Sometimes it's just by patience and just by letting them play."
"Sometimes it's yanking them out of the lineup," Johnson continued, "But, and I've said this before, every day, the players know what should go on. They know where they should hit in the lineup and it's my job to know too. And I think it's every day you've got to earn their respect and their trust and vice versa. But all 25 [players] are very important. I don't believe in having a doghouse. A guy has a bad outing and you guys want me to ship him into the doghouse and put somebody else in there. It's my job not to be that way. But if somebody does real good they know that I'll expand their role. I think that thing alone would qualify me as a player's manager."
Johnson is expected to return to the bench in Washington next season, but no official announcement has been made as of today.