I have nothing but respect for Davey Johnson. He has been a class act for his entire career, both playing and coaching. He is a man for the players, that was a player. He understands that game from all aspects and will do anything that keep the purity of the game alive.
Davey Johnson is set to retire at the end of this season and Bud Selig is going to be retiring as well. Coincidence? Yes, I think this is a complete coincidence, but it would have to make Davey Johnson think about his future. He has said before that he is looking for a nice quiet life in with fishing trips and walks with his wife and dog. But a man with almost 50 years in baseball is not going to walk away form baseball easily. And he has said he will stay on with the Nationals as a consultant, and is looking to bring youth baseball to Downtown Orlando. Shannon Owens, of the Orlando Sentinel, said it best in her article:
Johnson is a proven leader, and I’m not referring to his career wins and losses or three World Series championships.
I’m talking about a man who was bold enough at 19 years old to challenge former Texas A&M baseball coach Tom Chandler for telling him he’d get a full four-year ride when the scholarship contract only promised him one guaranteed year at the school.
I’m talking about a man who was savvy enough to create a computer program that allowed him to generate more successful lineup options based on percentage baseball theories as a player for the Baltimore Orioles almost 30 years before Orlando-born Billy Beane and the movie, Moneyball, became Hollywood hits.
I’m talking about a man willing to fight with and for players like he did in shutting down National pitcher Stephen Strasburg early to preserve his and the team’s long-term success.
And I’m talking about a guy who is old enough to remember grabbing drinks with Ted Williams to discuss hitting stances, but young in mind and heart enough to work out with a trainer to keep up with his young team or keep up with the latest emerging technologies in the sport.
A baseball commissioner should have a respect for the sport’s history with an eye toward the future. Particularly, a future that includes engaging more of today’s generation that’s far more interested in football or basketball.
This is the kind of man that I want running baseball. Only time will tell if my wish will come true, and with Johnson being 70 years old I find this very unlikely. Baseball needs a baseball man running its game again and Davey Johnson, in my book, is the man for the job.