Davey Johnson, Hall of Famer? If you ask me, it seems like a long shot, but he is on the ballot. Next month, the re-re-re-revamped Veterans' Committee will choose from an assortment of managers, umpires, and executives for Cooperstown's Class of 2010. The former O's second baseman and skipper is one of eight retired managers on the ballot (the list is here, and includes fellow ex-Oriole Whitey Herzog).
There's little question that Davey was a solid, above-average player, but his on-field performance alone would not qualify him for enshrinement. He was a four-time All-Star who won three Gold Gloves and once hit 43 home runs in a season, but he also hit just .261 with a .340 on-base percentage in thirteen seasons. He didn't quite have the longevity or the larger-than-life numbers to put him over the top.
But I really did underestimate Johnson's successes as a manager. In 14 seasons (12 full and two partial), he won 1,148 games and lost 888. His .564 winning percentage ranks 13th among all managers with at least 1,000 games managed. The most eye-opening stat: in his 12 full seasons, his teams finished in first place five times, second place six times, and third once. I may have overlooked him because he won just one World Series, with the 1986 Mets. Of course, Earl Weaver also piloted a single world champion, and there's no question that he was pretty damn good. Maybe Davey gets shortchanged because he was never a fixture with any single team; he helmed the Mets, Reds, Orioles, and Dodgers, and his longest tenure was the six-and-a-quarter years he spent in New York. Nonetheless, he was a winner wherever he went.
Best of luck to Davey and the rest of the candidates!