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Nationals’ Johnson wins NL Manager of the Year
NEW YORK (AP) - Davey Johnson was picked as the NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday after the Washington Nationals bolted to the best record in baseball.
Johnson, who turns 70 in January, was honored for the second time. He was picked as the AL’s top manager in 1997, hours after he resigned from the Baltimore Orioles in a feud with owner Peter Angelos.
Johnson will get a while to enjoy this accolade.
The Nationals announced this month that he will guide them in 2013, when he will be the oldest manager in the majors. He’s set to leave the Washington dugout and become a team consultant in 2014.
Johnson was an easy choice this year in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He received 23 of the 32 first-place votes, Dusty Baker of NL Central winner Cincinnati got five firsts and was second and Bruce Bochy of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants got four firsts and was third.
Washington won its second-ever major postseason award. Bryce Harper was voted NL Rookie of the Year on Monday.
The AL Manager of the Year was to be announced later Tuesday.
Washington went 98-64 this year, taking over the NL East lead in late May and staying in first place the rest of the way. Boosted by Harper, Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez and their fresh “Natitude,” they brought postseason baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933.
The playoffs didn’t go quite so well. Minus Stephen Strasburg _ team execs decided the ace had pitched enough while recovering from elbow surgery _ Washington blew a 6-0 lead and lost the deciding Game 5 of the division series to St. Louis. Voting for the BBWAA awards was done before the playoffs.
Johnson oversaw a diverse roster, one made up of young and old, Washington veterans and newcomers. A four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, two-time World Series champion and the last big leaguer to get a hit off Sandy Koufax, Johnson spoke with a soft, raspy tone but always held his team’s attention.
He would occasionally raise his voice _ he liked to holler “whack-o!” when the Nationals homered.
In June 2011, Johnson was working as a senior adviser with the Nationals when Jim Riggleman suddenly resigned midway through the season. Johnson took over and agreed to be part of a search committee to select a manager for 2012, allowing that he could be a candidate for the post, too.
The Nationals finished 80-81, barely missing out on their first winning season, and Johnson was brought back for another try.
By Tammy Bruce
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