The Sunday Read: Ron Washington is thrilled to be a champion, but still regrets World Series misses with Texas Rangers
(AP photo/Noah K. Murray)
Ron Washington first stepped into professional baseball in 1971, as a tough but undersized catcher fresh out of high school in New Orleans.
He was a player until 1990, though a knee injury early on forced him to become an infielder. He played in Los Angeles, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cleveland and Houston, but also in places like Waterloo, Albuquerque, Norfolk.
And Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela.
Washington became a minor-league coach and manager, then a big-league coach who waved runners in from third base and made infielders better.
Finally, in his 52nd season and after some near misses reaching the top, Washington is a world champion.
Washington is the third-base coach and infield guru for the Atlanta Braves, who beat the Houston Astros in six games to clinch the World Series. There was a sense of gratification and maybe some relief, but he is also mindful of what had happened 10 and 11 years earlier.
He was the manager of the American League-champion Texas Rangers, who lost the 2010 World Series in five games to the San Francisco Giants and had their hearts broken in the 2011 Fall Classic against the St. Louis Cardinals.
As he realized a lifelong goal Tuesday, he also felt some regret that the Rangers twice came up empty.
“What’s in my stomach is the two opportunities we had in Texas and couldn’t pull it off,” Washington said. “When [Atlanta clinched], that’s what I was thinking. I said, ‘I got me one, but I sure wish I could have gotten one in Texas.”