The Nationals are looking to hire another manager, as you may have heard. There isn’t a known single frontrunner at this point, although Brad Ausmus, Matt Williams, Trent Jewett and Randy Knorr are thought to be the leading candidates.
Each has his own pluses and minuses, I’m sure. But maybe what the Nats should do is look back to history. Not of the franchise, of baseball in Washington. As you are probably aware, there have only been three World Series played in DC – 1924, 1925 and 1933.
What you may not have been aware of is that in both 1924 and 1933, they had a young, rookie manager at the helm. The same could almost be said for 1925, as it was only his second season.
In 1924, they named Bucky Harris as their manager. Harris was also their second baseman that year. He was also 27. He managed the team for 5 years total, before moving on to some other teams, coming back to Washington for 13 more years in two stints, and finishing with a less than stellar .493 winning percentage. But what he also has is 2 World Series titles, one with Washington.
In 1933, their only other trip to the World Series besides Harris’ first two seasons, was with Joe Cronin. Cronin was also a player/manager, and was a year younger than Harris. The future Hall of Famer was a 26 year old starting SS when he took them to the Fall Classic. He left DC after only 2 seasons, and spent another 13 with Boston, taking them to a World Series and finishing his career with an impressive .540 wp.
Now, I’m not saying the Nats need to name someone under the age of 40 to manage. And naming a player/manager in this era is probably folly. Although, Ian Desmond will be 28 next year and certainly fits the pattern of success with team leaders who play the middle infield.
But, maybe if they want to follow an idea that’s worked in the past, they should go for youth. Everyone on their short list is under 40, so that’s a good start. Jewett is the oldest at 49, next is Williams, who is 47. Ausmus and Knorr are both 44, although Knorr turns 45 in November, Ausmus doesn’t until April.
I’m not saying there’s any logic or evidence to suggest this is a good way to pick a manager. I’m just sayin’