I don’t have much to say about Davey Johnson from personal experience, but I did spend one afternoon around him at a U.S. Olympic media summit in Chicago, before the Olympics that summer.
And for some reason, I decided to write a blog post back then comparing his quotes with Coach K’s quotes.
I don’t quite remember whether the Davey quotes came at the podium or after, when a few of us were gathered around him in a hallway, but this one stands up two years later. It concerns a win over Panama, in Cuba, to clinch an Olympic bid.
“I’ll tell you, when we clinched that thing, we stopped and got some [beers] and a jug of rum and guys were partying it up and singing and chanting and wanted me to stand up and take a sip of rum. It was kind of like a champagne party. Yeah, I took a sip. They were going ‘SKIPPER, SKIPPER,’ and you’ve each got to take a sip. Then when it got down to ‘BUSSEY, BUSSEY,’ they wanted the bus driver to take a sip. It was like, ‘no no no no.’ It was pretty fun....That was quite a crew I had back then. I’ve taken a lot of bus rides, but not one like that: in Cuba, drinking some beer, celebrating going to Beijing. It was quite impressive.”
Googling around, he seemed to have discussed the same bus ride with SI’s Luke Winn.
“Considering the circumstances,” he said, “that rum tasted pretty good.”
This, of course, caused me to run Nexis searches on Johnson and rum, and while there wasn’t much there, I found this from a 1993 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column.
“Anybody who drinks has a possible drinking problem,” Johnson told Bill Peterson “After a tough ballgame, I’d have a couple beers or some vodka and grapefruit juice. But people didn’t know if I had one, or if I had five or six, because it didn’t show up in my behavior. Usually, I just went home and fell asleep.”
And this from Newsday, after the Mets lost to the Dodgers in the 1988 NL championship series.
“As the Dodgers wasted inexpensive champagne in their clubhouse, Mets manager Davey Johnson pulled a bottle of what appeared to be generic vodka from a drawer in his office desk and mixed himself a screwdriver.”
Anyhow, here’s one more Johnson quote from that Olympic summit, when he was asked what he would do if the U.S. won Gold.
“My next step would be to go to the beach and wear that [gold medal] around my neck,” Johnson said. “No, I don’t look for any next step. That to me would be probably one of the last steps. I really enjoy my wife working and me not working since 2000....This puts enough water under my boat. I’ve had my days in the sun.”