Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson is asked about the Orioles a lot. But with Baltimore in town for the Nationals’ first interleague series of the season, those questions were more prevalent on Friday afternoon.
Johnson, who played for the Orioles from 1965 through 1972, winning two World Series titles, and managed them in 1996 and 1997, was asked Friday what his favorite memory was from his Baltimore days. It’s a question he’s asked often, but Friday he came up with a story he hadn’t yet told (at least not since he’s been the manager of the Nationals).
It was the one where Johnson and former Orioles catcher Andy Etchebarren pulled former Nationals manager (and Hall of Famer) Frank Robinson out of a swimming pool.
Why? Well, I’ll just let Davey tell it…
“It was more of a family,” Johnson said of his Orioles teammates. “It was my first big league team and it was, we tried to live close to each other, we did things off the field, we partied a lot. We won a lot so we had a lot to party for.
“I remember the time that Frank Robinson, after we won in ‘66, he fell in a swimming pool and Andy Etchebarren and I were looking down at him and he was in the bottom of the pool. We both jumped in and saved him. He didn’t know how to swim — and he was nothing but rock hard muscle. We didn’t know why he went in the pool but we dang sure weren’t going to let him drown.”
At this point, Johnson was asked if he’s ever reminded Robinson that he once saved his life.
“No, I don’t bring that up,” he said with a laugh. “He probably thought I pushed him in. We had our feet dangling in the water, we heard a splash and Etch and I both looked down there and said ‘Look at Frank! He’s swimming! (pause) No, he ain’t coming up!’ So we went after him. That was a scare. It was funny.
“I remember those more than sweeping the Dodgers four straight and the times that I used to kick (Earl) Weaver’s (butt) on the golf course. It was just a fun time… It was just a family atmosphere. That’s what I really love about the Orioles. We went through the good and the bad together. We had a lot more good.”