If there is one thing that comes through very clearly in the way Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson goes about his job, and his life, really, is his fondness for the days he spent coming up as a player in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization.
Johnson, an Orioles player from 1965-1972, points to those years as some of his most formative as he learned to play the game in the “Oriole Way.”
And one of the constants through most of those years was Earl Weaver, the Hall of Fame manager Johnson played under, first in the minor leagues, and then in Baltimore from 1968-1972. Together they won the 1970 World Series.
From his stories about Weaver calling him “Dum-Dum” when Johnson would make a lineup suggestion, to talking about the things he learned from Weaver about how to handle a pitching staff, and Johnson’s love of early statistical analysis he tried to share with Weaver, Johnson’s adoration for Weaver is evident.
Weaver passed away Friday night at the age of 82, the Orioles announced Saturday morning.
Through the Nationals, Johnson issued this statement on Weaver’s passing:
“I grew up in the minor leagues with Earl Weaver and we proceeded to spend a significant portion of our lives together,” Johnson said. “He was as intense a competitor as I have ever met. No one managed a ballclub or a pitching staff better than Earl. He was decades ahead of his time.
“Not a game goes by that I don’t draw on something Earl did or said. I will miss him every day.”