The Impact of Ron Washington on The Atlanta Braves
By: Colin Lacy
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
This month news broke that beloved Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington was getting the nod to take over as the new manager for the Los Angeles Angels.
This will be the second stint for Wash as a big-league manager after piloting the Texas Rangers from 2007-2014.
Ron Washington will be dearly missed in Atlanta after becoming an infectious personality around the clubhouse, while also being a gold mine of knowledge for infielders especially.
Washington has become a fan favorite around Braves Country because of the energy that David O’Brien of The Athletic described as “more energy at 71 than many 21-year-olds.”
Alex Anthopoulos, Braves GM, encapsulated the impact of Ron Washington on the Atlanta Organization by saying, “Presence, intellect, respect, work ethic, integrity. Off-the-charts ability to lead. I mean, that guy walks in a room, it’s over. He’s special. I’ve been in baseball since 2000. I’ve never been around someone like (Ron Washington).”
Ron Washington is a “baseball guy” through and through. A native of New Orleans, Washington was signed by Kansas City in 1970, and has been in professional baseball ever since.
He spent the next ten years primarily in the minor leagues for the Royals, Mets, and Dodgers organization. ‘Wash’ made his Major League debut in September of 1977 with the Dodgers as a September call-up but returned to the minors until 1981.
In 1981, Washington was on the active roster for the Minnesota Twins and would stay in the Bigs until 1986 scattered between the Twins, Orioles, Indians, and Astros. The end of his playing career came with his playing retirement in 1990 with the Oklahoma City Triple-A club.
After hanging up the glove (at least as a player), Washington set sails on his coaching career starting with the Mets organization for five years.
Washington made his Big-League debut as a coach in 1996 as the first base coach with the Oakland A’s where he would be until 2006 and return for the 2015 & 2016 season.
November 6th, 2006 will be a day that Ron Washington will always remember. It was the day the Texas Rangers announced they were bringing in Washington to manage the Rangers. Washington spent 8 years in Arlington and led the Rangers to two World Series appearances in 2010 & 2011.
While in October of 2016, Ron Washington was a finalist for the Braves vacant managerial position (that would inevitably be filled by Brian Snitker), Snitker elected to bring Ron Washington on staff as 3rd base coach. Since 2017, Washington was always around Truist park with the undeniable Wash Smile.
Washington’s pre-game routine with all the infielders, and even non-infielders, of throwing and hitting short hops to them blew up and became a must for all nationally televised game to show at some point.
Braves Country knows, and sometimes takes for granted, how underrated and top notch the coaching staff Brian Snitker has assembled over the years.
Ron Washington was a huge piece of that and will have some additional fall out I suspect. It has already been reported that Braves first base coach Eric Young Sr will be going with Wash to LA to join the Angels staff as their third base coach, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two others from the Braves staff joined as well.
Every offseason, each team has losses that fans will say “man that stinks” (sometimes a more colorful rendition of that), but not often is it a club’s third base coach.
Heck, many times when a coach leaves (outside of a manager or pitching coach), fans don’t realize it until opening day, and say “Hey who’s that new guy!”
Ron Washington is different. He was an incredible asset for the Braves and the Angles are getting a great baseball mind and great motivator. Grant McCauley, Braves beat reporter for 92.9 the Game, said on X what a lot of Braves fans are feeling. “It’s possible to be simultaneously thrilled for someone’s opportunity while being exceptionally sad to see them go.”