Davey Johnson again falls short in Hall of Fame vote

NASHVILLE – A decade after managing his final game for the Nationals and nearly four decades after leading the Mets to their most recent World Series title, Davey Johnson once again didn’t get the congratulatory call he has long waited to receive.

Johnson was not elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame tonight for the fifth time in the last 15 years, failing to come close to the necessary 12 votes he needed from the 16-member Contemporary Eras Committee.

That group, comprised of Hall of Famers, longtime baseball executives and veteran media members, instead elected only Jim Leyland off an eight-person ballot that included former managers, umpires and executives up for consideration.

Leyland, who won a World Series title with the Marlins and won multiple division titles with the Pirates and Tigers, was named on 15 of the 16 ballots. Longtime manager Lou Piniella received 11 votes (one shy) and former National League president Bill White received 10 votes. Johnson and the four other candidates (manager Cito Gaston, executive Hank Peters, umpires Ed Montague and Joe West) on the ballot each received fewer than five votes, according to the Hall of Fame.

For the 80-year-old Johnson, this may have been a final opportunity to have his highly successful – but often underappreciated – career recognized with the ultimate honor.

Johnson’s case has always been strong, though hardly airtight. His 1,372 career wins rank only 33rd all-time, but his .562 winning percentage is 10th all-time among all managers who won at least 1,000 games. (The other nine are in the Hall of Fame.) He’s one of only three managers to lead four different franchises to the postseason, joining Dusty Baker (who did it with five franchises) and Buck Showalter.

Johnson won only one World Series title, the Mets’ dramatic 1986 championship, and he never returned to the Fall Classic after that. He did, however, lead the Reds, Orioles and Nationals to the postseason, helping turn all three franchises around.

Johnson had been out of the dugout for more than 10 years when he was convinced by Nats general manager Mike Rizzo to return on short notice and replace Jim Riggleman, who shockingly resigned in June 2011 over a contract dispute. Johnson, who had been serving as a special assistant to Rizzo, finished out the 2011 season with a respectable 40-43 record, then led the Nationals to their first postseason appearance with a breakthrough performance in 2012 that earned him his second Manager of the Year Award. (He also won in 1997 with Baltimore.)

Hopes were even higher for the Nats entering the 2013 season, with Johnson going so far as to declare “World Series or bust, that’s probably the slogan this year; but I’m comfortable with that,” at the Winter Meetings held at the same Opryland Resort where tonight he was not elected to the Hall of Fame.

The 2013 Nationals wound up busting, finishing 86-76 and missing the playoffs altogether. Johnson, who had already agreed that would be his final season, departed afterward and has spent the last decade at his home outside Orlando, Fla., consulting for the Nats for a couple seasons before retiring.

A four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner at second base, Johnson won a pair of World Series rings with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970 and also played in the Fall Classic in 1969 and 1971. He became the Mets’ manager in 1984 and immediately led them to a 90-72 record, winning the World Series two years later after going 108-54 and then dramatically rallying to defeat the Red Sox.

Johnson managed parts of 17 seasons throughout his career. In 13 full big league seasons, he won 85 games or more an astounding 12 times, finishing under .500 only once (77-85 with the 1999 Dodgers).

In spite of his impressive record, Johnson was passed over for Hall of Fame election four previous times by various incarnations of the Veterans Committee in 2008, 2010, 2017 and 2018. The committee that voted tonight included Hall of Fame members Jeff Bagwell, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Bud Selig, Ted Simmons, Jim Thome and Joe Torre; executives Sandy Alderson, Bill DeWitt, Michael Hill, Ken Kendrick, Andy MacPhail and Phyllis Merhige; and media members/historians Sean Forman, Jack O’Connell and Jesus Ortiz. Voters were not allowed to make their ballots public.

Nats expect another Winter Meetings of reluctant p...
Will Nats make news at Winter Meetings?

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/