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Don’t Worry, They Managed: A look at the Washington Nationals’ managers...

A look at the managers who have run the dugout for the Nationals since baseball returned to Washington in 2005 …

2012 NLDS Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON - Davey Martinez parlayed his World Series title in 2019 to a contract extension after a down 2020 season for the Washington Nationals.

Whatever the future may hold for Martinez, the Nationals clearly have something that has been in short supply since 2005: stability in the manager’s office.

Here is a look at the managers who have come before him with the Nationals and our grade on their tenure in the nation’s capital:

FRANK ROBINSON (2005-2006)

The former All-Star right fielder was the manager with the Montreal Expos from 2002-04 so he also made the move to Washington in time for the return of baseball in 2005.

Texas native Robinson didn’t have much to work with – the roster of the 2005 team will make that clear.

The Nationals were 81-81 that first season and then 71-91 in 2006 after a fast start.

Robinson, a Hall of Famer, was part of the 1970 Baltimore team that won the World Series.

The second baseman for that team was another former Nationals’ manager – see below.

Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 and died in 2019 in California at the age of 83.

Despite the won-loss record, Robinson brought respect and dignity to Washington as the first manager of the team here.

That was needed after an absence of more than three decades from the Major League scene.

Grade: C+

MANNY ACTA (2007-09)

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Acta was a popular figure with many of his players and the media – much like Robinson.

But the on-field product continued to struggle as he posted a mark of 158-252 before he was replaced during the 2009 season.

The Dominican native made a nice transition to commentator; he turned 52 earlier this month.

Grade: C


Riggleman, 68, was born in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1952 but grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland.

He was a standout at Richard Montgomery High in Rockville and then played college baseball at Frostburg State in western Maryland. He was drafted out of college by the Dodgers in the fourth round in 1974 and got as high as Triple-A in the St. Louis system.

A former manager with the Padres, Cubs, and the Mariners, he took over for Acta during the 2009 season.

Riggleman posted a mark of 140-172 before resigning in a huff after failed contract talks with the Nationals in 2011. He later managed the Reds in 2018.

Grade: C-


Born in Texas in 1951, the long-time baseball man filled in for three games and was 2-1 after Riggleman stepped down.

He had managed in the minors with Toronto and in the majors with Seattle in 2008 and 2009.

Washington Nationals v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Grade: incomplete


Johnson brought respect and success back to the Nationals’ dugout – much like his 1970 teammate in Baltimore, Robinson.

The Nationals won their first division title in 2012 under Johnson; he was 224-183 in three seasons before settling into retirement with his wife in Florida.

The Florida native hit a career-high 43 homers with the Braves in 1973. He was teammates with a slew of Hall of Famers, including Hank Aaron in Atlanta.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images


A former third baseman for the Giants, California native Williams had the misfortune of being the manager when Jonathan Papelbon went after Bryce Harper in the dugout at the end of the 2015 season.

Along with the questionable decisions he made in the playoffs against the Giants in 2014, those two things will scar his time in D.C. despite a second NL East title for the club.

He later returned to Arizona as a coach.

Grade: B-

DUSTY BAKER (2016-17)

Baker was 2 for 2: two years and two division crowns as he posted a mark of 192-132 with the Nationals. The California native was an All-Star outfielder for the Dodgers and he was considered a player’s manager. But continued failure in the postseason was his undoing in Washington. He was the manager of Houston in 2020.

Grade: A-

DAVEY MARTINEZ (2018 to present)

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

As they say, World Series winners never have to again pay for a meal in that city.

Grade: A