Erik Sherman, co-author of the new book Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond, discusses Johnson’s playing and managerial career, his thoughts on changes in the current games and the debate of Johnson’s Hall of Fame consideration.
“I always knew he was a bright baseball guy, but you’ve never watched a baseball game until you’ve watched a baseball game with Davey Johnson,” said Sherman. “He’ll bring things into the conversation … his observations, you just can’t believe how he sees the game differently. He’s an extremely bright baseball guy.”
Despite his deep knowledge and continued love for the game, Johnson is not a fan of the game’s evolution. In the book, Johnson noted:
Baseball is about knowing your umpire: knowing what he calls and what he doesn’t call. And then there’s the human element, which is every bit as important. Pitchers, catchers, hitters, and umpires are all going to make mistakes. It’s part of the game. We’re all humans. We all err. The human element is part of what makes baseball great. Pretty soon, it’s all going to be high-tech and they won’t need an umpire behind the plate or others at the bases. Why do they even need them now? With instant replay, officials don’t always make the final call on a play anyway. They say the game is evolving with technology. They think it’s great and everybody wants to see more of it. Well, I call that bullsh–. I don’t think anybody wants it. With some of the rules the new commissioner, Rob Manfred, and others assisting him are putting out there and considering, it’s not even the game of baseball anymore. It’s terrible. Somebody who never played the game and doesn’t know anything about it has made rules like the sliding one. I hate to say this, but it’s not the game I grew up playing.
For more on the book, you can read an excerpt in Sports Illustrated and listen to an audio podcast with Davey Johnson from The Sporting News.
You can purchase the book online through your favorite bookseller. Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond is published by Triumph Books.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Davey Johnson is best known for managing the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles—and taking all three clubs to their respective league championship series during his time at the helm. When teams needed to improve, they hired Johnson, and he delivered, memorably leading the Mets to the 1986 World Series title. Yet even as he raised the bar of their success, all three clubs parted ways with Johnson, a pattern that puzzles him to this day. A self-termed “army brat,” Johnson kept moving, managing the Los Angeles Dodgers then the Washington Nationals before announcing his retirement in 2013. But managing baseball has been just one part of Johnson’s fascinating life. A true Renaissance man, Johnson has also found incredible success as a land investor, pilot, scratch golfer, scuba diving teacher, and mathematician, pioneering the use of sabermetrics in the big leagues. Now, Johnson finally takes the time to meditate on his wild and remarkable journey, with reflections on not only his All-Star playing days and years of managerial success in New York, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, but on his entire career.