WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson was pleased to learn from broadcasters Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler on Friday that former baseball executive and Hall of Famer Branch Rickey loved Johnson's talent as a player and suggested to then Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam to trade for Johnson, who was playing for the Rochester Red Wings in the Orioles' organization.
The letter that Rickey wrote to Howsam is now stored in the Library of Congress. The letter was written in 1964. It said the following:
Johnson, Dave: (Rochester Infielder)
Tall, slim, right-hander now playing second base. 21 years old. First-year player. Good looking fielder. Good batting form. A Major League possibility. Try to include him in any possible deal with Baltimore.
- Branch Rickey
cc - Mr. Robert L. Howsam
Said Johnson: "Branch Rickey liked me. ... So me and Jackie had something in common," Johnson said, referring to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947 thanks to Rickey, who was then GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.