Tag Archives: Nick Johnson

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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Nats all-time stats will blow your mind (not in a good way for the most part)

The Nats’ (updated) all-time stat leadersNats Insider
Going all the way back to 2005, Mark Zuckerman compiled the Washington Nationals all-time statistical leaders. He provided this warning:

WARNING: Reading these lists will elicit a wide range of emotions, from smiles to frowns to laughter to tears to sheer dumbfoundedness (and yes, I know that’s not a real word, but trust me, it will apply to a few of these names)…

To qualify, a player needed at least a full season with the team.

  • Perennially injured Nick Johnson has the third most games
  • Michael Morse is already 3rd on the home run list
  • Ryan Zimmerman has 283 more RBI than the next closest Nat — Johnson
  • Zimmerman has 366 more hits than the next closest — Cristian Guzmán
  • Dmitri Young is the only player with a batting average over .300. Morse is in second place with .295.
  • Reliever Tyler Clippard has the 3rd most wins with 19
  • Livan Hernandez and John Lannan are the only pitchers with more than 100 starts with 129 and 128, respectively
  • Nyjer Morgan is the leader in stolen bases.
  • Errors committed was not included
  • Neither were managerial wins/winning percentage

The Nats really have been as awful as people said. Thanks to Zuckerman for compiling this it had to have been depressing.

I’d love to see the all-time D.C. stats with both incarnations of the Senators included as well.

UPDATE: Here they are from the blog D.C. Baseball History – D.C. Baseball Yesterday and Today Hitting | Pitching. Not a lot of modern Nats on those lists yet. Chad Cordero is the all-time saves leader though. It is safe to say most of the pitching records will never be broken.

Pitchers and catchers report one month from today.

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What I remember of previous Nats spring training seasons

Until I read the annual “this is a different kind of club than last year” Thomas Boswell column in The Post, I had forgotten that the Washington Nationals started 0-11 in the Grapefruit League last year. That got me to thinking, what do I even remember from previous years spring training, off the top of my head at least:

2005: WE HAVE A TEAM, the Ian Desmond kid looks like he might be something in a couple of years
2006: Alfonso Soriano doesn’t want to play left field
2007: I like the positive attitude Manny Acta has and I wonder when Nick Johnson will play this year
2008: I’m eager to see what Lastings Milledge can do, that looks like a good trade
2009: Smileygate – Carlos Alvarez is the player to be named later, Jim Bowden resigns!
2010: STEPHEN STRASBURG, STEPHEN STRASBURG, STEPHEN STRASBURG

Jim Bowden also rode around on a tricked out Segway and one year prayed for Jesus Colome and is buttocks. I don’t remember which season that was though. I tried to forget about Bowden as much as I could. The same could be said for Colome as well.

The point though, is that spring training while fun, is just blip on the memory of the upcoming season and doesn’t mean much at all in the bigger picture. I even enjoy all the “best shape of his life” articles, because at the very least these articles means that spring is near. It isn’t just that, I like the optimism of spring training, because the slate is clean and who knows, maybe the team will make a big jump and play over its head like it did in 2005 and 2007.

So, what year did Boswell write this?

Washington finally has its first truly serious baseball franchise since the 1930s.

You have to be as old as Ted Lerner, the…boss of the Nationals, to remember the last time Washington had a big league team that was a serious annual contender, a legitimate front-line franchise, a club that fought toe-to-toe with the very best. But that time is probably arriving again and perhaps fairly soon.

Like I said, spring training doesn’t mean or tell us much , but sometimes its just fun to go along for the ride.

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Nats grades, DC-IBWA Post-Season Player Awards

Nationals GradesThe Wash. Times
Every significant player on the Nationals roster and the front office gets graded.

DC-Internet Baseball Writers Association Names 2009 Player Achievement Awards

INTERNET BASEBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION: Washington, D.C. ChapterThe Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association is an organization comprised of internet writers, on-line media outlets, and bloggers.

In accordance with its stated goal of promoting the members of the association and increasing awareness and respect as active members of the media that cover the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club, the DC-IBWA is pleased to announce its member-voted winners of Post-Season Player Achievement Awards.

Each individual award is named after a member of the district’s storied baseball heritage, to promote awareness of the significance of the history of Washington, DC baseball. Biographies of the honored historical players can be found attached to this press release.

THE AWARDS

Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player
Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals:

1st: Ryan Zimmerman (92 points, 16 first place votes)

2nd: Adam Dunn (41 points, one first place vote)

3rd: Nyjer Morgan (25 points, three first place votes)

Others: John Lannan (19), Josh Willingham (3)

Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year
Excellent performance as a starting pitcher

1st: John Lannan (96 points, 18 first place votes)

2nd: Jordan Zimmermann (42 points, two first place votes)

3rd: Craig Stammen (22 points)

Others: J.D. Martin (6), Garrett Mock (4), Livan Hernandez (3), Ross Detwiler (2)

Frederick “Firpo” Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year
Excellent performance as a relief pitcher

1st: Tyler Clippard (80 points, 13 first place votes)

2nd: Mike MacDougal (55 points, six first place votes)

3rd: Sean Burnett (29 points, one first place vote)

Others: Jason Bergmann (6), Joe Beimel (5), Ron Villone (3),Saul Rivera (1)

Sam Rice Hitter of the Year
Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning

1st: Ryan Zimmerman (81 points, 14 first place votes)

2nd: Adam Dunn (39 points, two first place votes)

3rd: Nyjer Morgan (26 points, three first place votes)

Others: Josh Willingham (14), Nick Johnson (9, one first place vote), Cristian Guzman (6)

Frank Howard Slugger of the Year
Excellence in power hitting

1st: Adam Dunn (100 points, 20 first place votes)

2nd: Ryan Zimmerman (46 points)

3rd: Josh Willingham (27 points)


Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year

Excellence in fielding

1st: Ryan Zimmerman (88 points, 14 first place votes)

2nd: Nyjer Morgan (69 points, six first place votes)

3rd: Willie Harris (12 points)

Others: Alberto Gonzalez, Elijah Dukes, Nick Johnson (3), Wil Nieves (1)


Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year

Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field

1st: Nick Johnson (50 points, 10 first place votes)

2nd: Mike MacDougal (20 points, one first place vote)

3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (18 points, three first place votes)

Others: Jason Bergmann (16), Josh Bard (9), Ron Villone (8), Josh Willingham (7), Mike Morse (7), Justin Maxwell (5), J.D. Martin (4), Nyjer Morgan, Livan Hernandez, Ross Detwiler, Elijah Dukes (3),
Adam Dunn, Ian Desmond, Jorge Padilla, Sean Burnett, Garrett Mock (1)

Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year
Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community

1st: John Lannan (72 points, 12 first place votes)

2nd: Ryan Zimmerman (44 points, four first place votes)

3rd: Wil Nieves (21 points, three first place votes)

Others: Josh Willingham (9), Nyjer Morgan, Willie Harris, Elijah Dukes (3), Tyler Clippard (1)

Minor League Player of the Year

Minor league player most destined for big league success

1st: Derek Norris (54 points, nine first place votes)

2nd: Ian Desmond (53 points, nine first place votes)

3rd: Drew Storen (41 points, two first place votes)

Others: Bradley Meyers (16), Chris Marrero (7), Mike Morse (4), Daniel Espinosa (2), Ross Detwiler, Jorge Padilla (1).

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