ESPN The Magazine did a feature on Davey Johnson, filled with anecdotes and Davey-isms, such as this one.
“I’m a happy man,” he told Steve Wulf. “Happy to be involved in a game that I love, and lucky to be pretty good at what I do. Heck, I could’ve found a talent that wasn’t so good for society, like robbing banks.”
The whole piece is a bit of a long read, but well worth the time. We learn that he was fishing when he got the call to take over for Jim Riggleman, that he used to get notes from Marge Schott’s dog, and how he earned the nickname “Dum Dum.” Perhaps this story of a 19-year-old Johnson is the most entertaining of all:
“My girlfriend came in from Houston to stay with me. When she shows up, she tells me she wants to get engaged, so I take one of my roommates, Darold Knowles, to a jewelry store because his father was a jeweler. Turned out Darold didn’t know anything about jewels — he held that eyeglass upside down. Anyway, I buy a ring for $100. But then I find out that Bill St. Peter, one of our pitchers, had been hitting on her down by the pool. Now I have to fight him, he’s trying to steal my fiancée, right? Before we square off, though, Bill says, ‘Davey, I was only trying to see if she really loved you.’ And I go, ‘Oh.’ Well, she took the bus back to Houston, broke up with me and I never got the ring back.”
Johnson has just skyrocketed to the top of my “fantasy dinner guests” list.