Washington Nationals field manager Davey Johnson tonight was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
In 2012, Johnson’s first full season as Nationals skipper, he led Washington to an MLB-leading 98 wins, an NL East title and DC’s first postseason berth in 79 years. The Nationals either led the NL East or shared its top spot for all but 10 days this season, and by season’s end, owned the best run differential (+137) in MLB.
Along the way, the 69 year-old Johnson managed one of baseball’s top rotations (NL-best 3.40 rotation ERA) which employed only eight starting pitchers, five of which started at least 27 games. His lineups produced 194 home runs (second in NL) to establish both franchise (1969-2012) and DC baseball (1901-71, 2005-12) single-season marks. Meanwhile, the Nationals’ 51 unearned runs allowed tied for the third-fewest in the NL (as recently as 2010, Washington ranked 29th in MLB allowing 84 unearned runs).
“Davey Johnson’s legacy was secure well before he became our manager in 2011, but his performance this season has to rate among his best work” said Mike Rizzo, Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “He showed this club how to win despite being engaged in a pennant race for the first time. And he accomplished this with so many young players. It is no coincidence that under Davey’s watch, we witnessed breakout seasons from Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. I would like to offer my deepest congratulations and thanks to Davey and his family on behalf of the Lerner Family and our entire organization.”
Since assuming the Nationals’ managerial helm on June 27, 2011, Johnson’s Nationals are 138-107 (.563). In that same time span, only the Braves (139) have won more games among NL entries.
The BBWAA Manager of the Year award is the second of Johnson’s career. He won the AL version of the award in 1997 for his work with the Orioles, who posted the Junior Circuit’s top record (98-64, .605) that summer.
The 15-year duration between Johnson’s citations is the largest in the history of the BBWAA’s Manager of the Year Award, which was founded in 1983. Before tonight, Jim Leyland held the previous mark, as he went 14 seasons between earning his second (‘92 with Pittsburgh) and third (‘06 with Detroit) career managerial citations.
Johnson has authored six division titles (‘12 Nationals, ‘97 Orioles, ‘95 Reds, ‘94 Reds, ‘88 Mets, ‘86 Mets), one pennant (‘86 Mets) and one World Championship (‘86 Mets) during his stellar managerial career.
Also in 2012, Johnson registered his seventh 90-win campaign and joined Billy Martin (Twins, Tigers, Yankees, Athletics) as the game’s lone skippers to take four different teams to the postseason.
Among those to manage 1000 or more games, Johnson’s career winning percentage (1286-995, .564) ranks second among living managers behind his former skipper, Earl Weaver (.583).
Just three days ago (Sat, Nov. 10), the Nationals announced that Johnson will return in 2013 for his final managerial campaign before shifting to a consultant position with the Nationals in 2014.