200 Miles From the Citi

August 1, 2010 9:34 PM

Where Have You Gone, Davey Johnson?

You'll forgive me for not wanting to talk about this weekend's series with the Diamondbacks.

The fact that in yet another example of their yearlong inconsistencies, the Mets followed up a series win against the Cardinals with another bomb of a series with Arizona.

A team that has won just five times in their last sixteen outings...with all five of those wins coming against the Mets.

So you'll forgive the fact that I'd rather ignore that series...and instead, like I've done so many times before, think about the glory of 1986 rather than the current struggles.


Specifically, I want to talk about an underrated member of that 1986 team, who was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday - manager Davey Johnson.

Johnson was in the booth during Sunday's game, and reminded me (and I'm sure many others) of why he was the absolute perfect man for the Mets' job.

Frank Cashen, who was also inducted into the team Hall of Fame Sunday (as an aside, I love the fact that the Mets are bolstering the ranks of their Hall of Fame - all of Sunday's honorees were well-deserved.  I don't want it to become a watered-down honor, but it was nice that Cashen, Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden were all inducted on Sunday.  I'll write another day about who else should be included...but suffice it to say right now that there shouldn't be four people inducted every year...but neither should the Mets go 8 years without an induction again.), always said (are you still with me after that huge parenthetical thought?), and again said it when he was interviewed on Sunday, that he hired Johnson in large part because of his intellect.

Johnson is a very smart man...and the best trait about him is he's smart enough not to show it.  He doesn't go around telling everyone how bright he is - he's self-deprecating, he's willing to build up others, and he trusts his instincts, even if they don't necessarily agree with what his brain is telling him.

The 1986 Mets were a bunch of characters - and those types of teams take unique personalities to manage them.  Davey Johnson was the right blend of den mother, hands-off manager, hands-on coach, fall guy in certain instances, and baseball mind to lead that team to a World Series win.  That's part of why I like Terry Francona so much - he has similar traits as far as taking a diverse group of personalities and making them gel and succeed.

I'm excited about the new additions to the Mets Hall of Fame, and I'm thrilled to have had the chance to appreciate once again what Davey Johnson brought to this franchise.

Even on a day when the shortcomings of the current team - and manager - were all too clearly on display.

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