Martinez will become Nats’ longest-tenured manager today

There won’t be any ceremony to commemorate the occasion. No formal mention of the achievement or announcement on the scoreboard. Nor should there be, because it’s not exactly a major accomplishment under the circumstances.

And yet it’s not insignificant that today Davey Martinez will manage his 411th game for the Nationals. What’s significant about 411 games in the dugout? Well, believe it or not, it’s the most games anyone will have managed in club history.

Yep, that’s right. Even though he’s only been at the helm for the equivalent of 2 1/2 full major league seasons’ worth of games, Martinez has nonetheless now lasted longer than any other manager this franchise has employed since arriving in town in 2005.

And you might be shocked to learn who has held the record until today: Manny Acta.

Acta may have the lowest winning percentage in Nationals history (.385) but the 410 games he managed from 2007-2009 have long stood atop an ignominious list.

The strangest aspect of Nats managerial history is that each of the seven men who have held the job on more than an interim basis - sorry to John McLaren and his 2-1 record during a weekend series in Chicago in June 2011 - did so for anywhere between 312 and 410 games. All completed two full seasons, but none completed a third until Martinez during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

Behind Martinez and Acta at 410 on the list are Davey Johnson (407), Dusty Baker (324), Matt Williams (324), Frank Robinson (324, plus another 486 with the Expos) and Jim Riggleman (312).

Thumbnail image for Martinez-Serious-Hoodie-WS-G4-Sidebar.jpgMartinez, of course, did what none of his predecessors could and won not only a postseason series but ultimately the World Series in his second season as manager. That earned him a contract extension last fall and made him the first manager in club history to reach a fourth season in charge.

“It allows us to give a consistent message, to show that you’ll know the person that is going to be in your career as a player,” general manager Mike Rizzo said last September upon announcing Martinez’s new contract. “And I think the partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match. We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

For now, Martinez is not the club leader in managerial wins. Johnson still holds that title with 224 wins, though Martinez is fast gaining on him. Entering today’s game, he owns 213 career managerial victories, so he should move into first place on the list by the end of the month.

The odds of Martinez ever topping the list of all-time Washington major league managers are slim. Bucky Harris, who guided the Senators to their one and only World Series title in 1924 and wound up in charge for 18 total seasons spread across three decades, managed 2,776 games in D.C.

In order to catch Harris, Martinez would need to remain the Nationals’ manager through the majority of the 2035 season.

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