(Page 2 of 2)

Johnson gets optimal job A year later, number comes up with Orioles

October 31, 1995|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

It did not, however, guarantee Johnson either happiness or job security. He was struggling with the demands of managing in New York and -- by his own admission -- drinking too much when the Mets replaced him six weeks into the 1990 season.

"I think he has really mellowed," Palmer said. "I think he's learned a lot. He was humbled his first time as a manager. There he was, the most successful manager of the 1980s -- with a very difficult team to manage -- and then he's out of the game."

Johnson would have to wait nearly three years for a chance to prove himself again. He took over the Reds early in the 1993 season and could not avert a fifth-place finish, but they were in first place when the players strike interrupted the 1994 season and they reached the National League Championship Series this year. Now, he is taking over an underachieving Orioles team that hasn't been to the postseason in 12 years.

"I was surprised he didn't get the job last year," Palmer said. "No reflection on Phil Regan, but I thought Davey was the most qualified of all the people they interviewed."

Johnson apparently thought so, too. He was deeply disappointed when the Orioles informed him of their decision. He had come in for an interview with the four-man, front-office search committee and was under the impression that he would get a chance to meet owner Peter Angelos in a second round of interviews. Instead, he got a phone call. Regan, with no major-league managerial experience, had signed a two-year contract.

Maybe things turned out for the best. He remained with the Reds and led them to a second straight first-place finish in the National League Central and a three-game victory in the new divisional playoff series. The Reds went down hard to the eventual world champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, but Johnson proved again his ability to get the most out of a talented team.

The Reds bounced back from a 1-8 start to win the division in a walkover, and Johnson kept the team focused while his own status as Reds manager remained extremely unclear. Owner Marge Schott promised the 1996 managerial job to coach Ray Knight, but both men made the best of an uncomfortable situation.

"It wasn't that difficult," Johnson said. "I knew that if I had a good year, I'd be out of there, but I still might have an opportunity somewhere . . . and here I am. I couldn't have written a better script."

Playing career

Davey Johnson's playing career:

Yr. Club ... ... ... Avg. ... ... HR ... RBI

'65 Orioles .. .. .. .170 ... ... 0 .. .. 1

'66 Orioles .. .. .. .257 ... ... 7 .. .. 56

'67 Orioles .. .. .. .247 ... ... 10 ... 64

'68 Orioles .. .. .. .242 ... ... 9 .. .. 56

'69 Orioles .. .. .. .280 ... ... 7 .. .. 57

'70 Orioles .. .. .. .281 ... ... 10 ... 53

'71 Orioles .. .. .. .282 ... ... 18 ... 72

'72 Orioles .. .. .. .221 ... ... 5 .. .. 32

'73 Atlanta .. .. .. .270 ... ... 43 ... 99

'74 Atlanta .. .. .. .251 ... ... 15 ... 62

'75 Atlanta .. .. .. 1.000 .. ... 0 .. .. 1

Yomiuri* ... ... ... .197 ... ... 13 ... 38

'76 Yomiuri* ... ... .275 ... ... 26 ... 74

'77 Philadelphia ... .321 ... ... 8 .. .. 36

'78 Phi./Chi (N) ... .232 ... ... 4 .. .. 20

ML tot. ... .. .. .. .261 ... ... 136 ... 609

* -- Japanese League

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.