Ron WashingtonBaseball Player/Coach
Ron Washington seemingly has always taken the road less traveled.
Currently the manager for the Texas Rangers, Washington has seen a lot in the game of baseball since his days as a two-sport star (football) as John McDonogh High.
After attending Manatee Junior College in Florida, Washington was originally signed as a free agent catcher by the Kansas City Royals. Getting his professional start in the Royals’ Baseball Academy, Washington’s focus was on the fundamentals, a rooted foundation that would manifest itself later.
Washington played all or part of 10 seasons in the major leagues with Los Angeles, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cleveland and Houston. He hit .368 in 10 games with the Dodgers in 1977, but he did not return to the majors until four seasons later with Minnesota.
In his first full seasons in the majors with the Twins in 1982, Washington batted .271 with career highs in home runs. Washington hit a personal best .294 for Minnesota in 1984, before moving on to play with the Orioles, Indians, and Astros.
“There have just been so many people who have said stuff and done stuff that sticks with you,” Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “(There were) people who praised you, who were direct with you, but never in a mean way. People who treated you like a professional; people who told you what you had to do to get better and then pushed you.”
During his time in Baltimore, Washington became a footnote in history as he replaced Cal Ripken at shortstop in during a game in September, 1987, ending Ripken’s streak of 8,243 consecutive innings.
While a minor leaguer, Washington hit .278 for his career, and earned an all-star appearance as a catcher. He also ranked in the Top 10 in batting average in consecutive seasons.
In 1991, Washington moved into the coaching ranks with the New York Mets organization, and spent two seasons managing the club’s Class A affiliate in Columbia South Carolina.
After five seasons with New York, Washington got the call back to the majors, this time as a coach with the Oakland A’s. In 11 seasons in Oakland, Washington helped Oakland led the major’s in fielding in both 2004 and 2005, while helping the team rank third in the American League in fielding percentage (.985) in his final five seasons there.
In addition, Washington is credited with the development of the A’s young infield talent during his time there. Among his pupils were six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez and former American League MVP and current Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada. In 2004, Chavez expressed his appreciation by giving Washington one of his Gold Glove trophies signed, “Not without you, Wash.”
All the hard work on the road less traveled has paid off for Washington. While not only reaching the pinnacle of managing in his first season as major league baseball manager, Washington has traveled the road to induction in the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.