Nick Johnson and Brian Schneider retire, were starters on 2005 Nats

Two “original” Washington Nationals announced retirements this week — Nick Johnson, the first baseman, and Brian Schneider, the catcher, were starters

I first saw Johnson play in 2002 when he was with the New York Yankees. It seemed like he went about 5 for 6 against the Baltimore Orioles* in the third game of that season. Looking up the box score, it turns out he only went 2 for 3, but he homered. I came away impressed. I had no expectation that 3 years later, I’d be watching him play for D.C. baseball team.

As the Nats first basemen, Johnson was quite good in 2005-2006 and even stayed healthy relative to the rest of his career. His on-base percentage was really high and his fielding was strong. I remember him hitting a 3-0 pitch off the mezzanine once, though I’m not sure what season it was anymore. It all went bad late in the 2006 season when he collided with Austin Kearns at Shea Stadium. The site of a trainer crossing his arms appears pretty early in a Google Images search for “nick johnson nats.” That was the beginning of the end for Johnson. MissChatter sent him flowers with a bunch bloggers names on it. Then the team wore high socks in Johnson’s honor (they should honor him all the time if you get my drift). Johnson finally returned in 2008, had a goofy haircut, no power left. He was traded late in 2009 after a decent season.

Johnson’s retirement got a bit of coverage because he was a sabermetrician’s dream while still being “old school.” Barry Svrluga, the original Nats beat writer for The Post has a great write-up on Johnson that you need to read.

Oh and then there is Flip Flop Fly Ball’s infographic on Johnson’s health.

Also remembering Johnson and Schneider too is Martin Niland over at D.C. Baseball History. Niland mentioned some stuff that I had forgotten about, so go read that too.

Schneider came to D.C. with a reputation for being a good catcher who could throw out runners. A Phillies baserunner took off for second on Opening Day 2005 and Schneider threw it away, I was rolling my eyes a little. Schneider would right the ship and be among the league leaders in throwing out runners. It seems like he overthrow second at the beginning of 2006 as well.

Schneider will always be a part of D.C. baseball lore because he got to catch the ceremonial first pitch from President George W. Bush at the 2005 Home Opener.

Schneider retired after playing for those Phillies after a few years with the Mets. Lastings Milledge was the “prize” the Nats got back from the Mets in a trade that also sent Ryan Church to New York in 2007.

Schneider was from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, so playing there was “going home” in a sense. Schneider’s autographed photo was hanging in an Italian restaurant that The Ombudsman waited tables in for a while. A friend of a friend mentioned this past Thanksgiving that she had baby-sat Schneider and he was very hyper.

Don Sutton used to call him “Snyder” during telecasts which was funny and annoying.

It is hard to believe, but we’re only 2 years away from a full decade of the Nats. Schneider and Johnson were the last original Nats playing the field; now only Livan Hernandez remains, provided somebody signs him for 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing them in 2 years when the Nats celebrate the 2005 team.

*Last time I gave the Orioles and Peter Angelos any money, decided to stop rewarding bad behavior after that.

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Doug Williams led Redskins to Super Bowl XXII win 25 years ago today

Twenty-five years ago today, Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to 35 second quarter points in a 42-10 beatdown of the Denver Broncos. Williams did it on a bad knee, the day after dental surgery and after starting only a handful of games that season 5 years removed from being a regular NFL starting quarterback.

Doug Williams was on the Wheaties box. This image is fair use because my mom bought a box back then.

The game was historical and ironic at the same time. The Redskins, having been last to integrate, were the first team to start a Super Bowl with a black quarterback. Williams was MVP.

Williams Delivers a Super Bowl TriumphThe Post

One Super Show!…and The Rout Was OnSports Illustrated

Williams would go 3-0 in the playoffs that year, but only 5-9 as a regular season starter over several seasons in D.C. He also won twice in relief of Jay Schroeder, a QB nobody liked. Health problems, including an emergency appendectomy the next season and a ascending Mark Rypien brought Williams’ career to close. Rick Tandler has a good column on the Williams legacy on CSN Washington. For a brief period, Williams was huge in the nation’s capital.

Below is playlist (nine videos in all) of Super Bowl XXII — most of the first half, including some of the pregame introductions and the post-game interviews.

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John Riggins, Redskins won their first Super Bowl 30 years ago today


Thirty years ago today, John Riggins ran through Don McNeal to score a 42 yard touchdown in Super Bowl XVII. That run put the Washington Redskins up 20-17 over the Miami Dolphins, a lead never relinquished.

Riggins, Redskins Run to Super Bowl Title, 27-17The Post

Hail To The Redskins!Sports Illustrated

PREVIOUSLY: MUST SEE: John Riggins: A Football Life at 8 p.m. on NFL Network

h/t @SteveRep44

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R.I.P. Chuck Hinton, Washington Senators player, Howard University baseball coach

The last Washington Senators player to hit .300 for a season has died. Chuck Hinton wore #32 from 1961-64 with the expansion Senators and hit .310 in his second season.

Hinton’s statistics during his D.C. career from Baseball Reference:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
545 2202 1961 275 549 83 30 49 217 92 30 208 303 .280 .347 .428 .775 113 839 53 3 11 19 10

Hinton was an All-Star in 1964. He would play for the Cleveland Indians and California Angles during the remainder of his career.

The Rocky Mount, N.C. native returned to Washington in 1971 though, becoming the head baseball coach at Howard University for 28 years.

During his tenure, Hinton led the Bison to their first ever MEAC title and was responsible for the careers of former Major league standouts Milt Thompson and Jerry Davis.

Others who benefited from Hinton’s mentoring include boxing promoter Rock Newman and broadcaster Glenn Harris.

Hinton also founded the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and was a vice president at the time of his death. From the MLBPAA “About Us” page:

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) was formed in 1982 in order to promote the game of baseball, raise money for charity, inspire and educate youth through positive sport images and protect the dignity of the game through former players. A nonprofit organization, the MLBPAA establishes a place where a player’s drive for excellence and achievement on the field can continue long after they take their last steps off the professional diamond.

Hinton was present at the “baseball is back” announcement at the City Museum in September 2004. I don’t know why the Washington Nationals did not bring Hinton into the fold. From all indications, Hinton was a credit to the sport. It is unfortunate he was not as well known as he should have been.

Hinton was inducted Washington Hall of Stars. He authored My Time at Bat in 2002 which is available from Amazon.

TWITTER TRIBUTES

APPRECIATIONS

Chuck Hinton (1934-2013): An Appreciation D.C. Baseball History
Jim Hartley got to know Hinton and writes about him.

Chuck Hinton: Remembering a good guy – – D.C. Baseball History
Long-time D.C. sportswriter Dick Heller shared an embarrassing anecdote about himself while remembering Hinton.

Chuck Hinton, last Washington Senator to hit .300, dies at 78The Post
It took a while, but there is finally an obituary from The Post and it is a good one.

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Mr. Inaugural Parade – Charlie Brotman

A Presidential tradition, dating back to the second Dwight Eisenhower inauguration in 1957, is Charlie Brotman as the voice of the Inaugural Parade.

Brotman got the job after Eisenhower liked the way he was introduced at Opening Day of the Washington Senators in 1956. In 2005, I wrote a feature on Brotman. He was very gracious with his time on our phone call. I met him in person in 2006 and subsequent times since. Brotman was the last p.a. announcer at Griffith Stadium and routinely handled that role on Opening Day, including when baseball returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005 with the Nationals. Brotman moved in to public relations and became a juggernaut. He’s one of the great Washingtonians.

MORE ON BROTMAN

Charlie Brotman to Announce His 15th Inaugural Parade Monday
Washingtonian

Inaugural parade’s announcer knows how to call ‘em as voice of former Washington Senators ballclubThe Post

Q&A Brotman: ‘Ronald Reagan would have been a good boxer’Ring TV

BRTOMAN PROFILE FROM NBC NEWS

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