Ron Washington's Game 6 Redemption Was 10 Years in the Making

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Ron Washington yet got what had seemed inevitable successful 2011: a championship. That helium did it arsenic a coach, alternatively than a manager, is OK with him. “I’m a satellite champion.”

Rather than sweat retired  a nail-biter similar  helium  had successful  Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, Ron Washington got to unbend  and bask  a blowout, celebrating with players similar  Freddie Freeman connected  Tuesday.
Credit...Ken Murray/EPA, via Shutterstock

David Waldstein

Nov. 4, 2021, 8:02 a.m. ET

HOUSTON — Ron Washington has worked successful nonrecreational shot for implicit 50 years, since helium signed with the Kansas City Royals arsenic a imaginable astatine 18. But for each his clip playing, coaching, managing and coaching again, and for the thousands of games helium has been a portion of, a brace of Game 6s 10 years isolated are present the landmarks of his post-playing career.

One of them was a crushing nonaccomplishment successful which a azygous onslaught connected 2 abstracted occasions would person made him a champion. The different was a saccharine triumph connected Tuesday that yet made it happen.

Washington stood connected the tract precocious Tuesday nighttime astatine Minute Maid Park aft Atlanta bushed the Houston Astros, 7-0, successful Game 6 of the World Series to clinch the franchise’s 2nd title successful Atlanta, and archetypal with Washington arsenic its 3rd basal and infield coach.

He wore a World Series champions T-shirt, held a triumph cigar successful 1 manus and imagined the jewelry that would soon adorn the other.

“I’ve got 2 rings astatine location that accidental American League champions,” Washington said. “Now I’m going to person 1 that says satellite champion. All the years I enactment into this game, I yet got one.”

Washington managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 done 2014, and led them to 2 American League pennants. But Texas mislaid the 2010 World Series to the San Francisco Giants, and the 2011 Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Credit...Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 2nd 1 has haunted the Rangers franchise due to the fact that of what happened successful Game 6.

The Rangers led by 2 runs with 2 outs successful the bottommost of the ninth inning successful St. Louis, but with 2 strikes and 2 runners connected base, David Freese of the Cardinals deed a long, but catchable, shot implicit the caput of Texas close fielder Nelson Cruz, who was not playing heavy enough. Cruz misjudged the ball’s flight, and it deed the partition for a triple. The crippled was tied and headed for other innings.

The Rangers went up again successful the apical of the 10th connected a two-run location tally by Josh Hamilton, and for the 2nd clip successful 2 innings the Rangers were 1 onslaught distant from champagne. But the Cardinals fought backmost erstwhile again, and Lance Berkman singled location the 2nd tally to necktie it again. Freese homered successful the 11th to triumph the game, and the Cardinals won Game 7, too.

There was nary specified play connected Tuesday, arsenic the script’s bittersweet ending was reversed for Washington. This time, helium stood down the 3rd basal enactment to congratulate Atlanta’s 3 home-run hitters — Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman — with low-fives arsenic they made the crook and headed home. Much of the crippled was ne'er adjacent close, and aft what helium went done successful Game 6 successful St. Louis 10 years earlier, that suited Washington conscionable fine.

“This is precise peculiar for each of us,” Washington said, “But yes, particularly for me, too, due to the fact that we did travel truthful adjacent successful 2011. I’m a satellite champion now, and it doesn’t substance if I did it arsenic a manager oregon a manager. I’m a satellite champion.”

Washington, 69, said helium planned to instrumentality to Atlanta with the squad and revel successful the post-victory celebrations and parade. He could besides go a campaigner for unfastened managerial jobs. Currently, determination are vacancies with the Mets and Oakland Athletics, wherever Washington coached from 1996 to 2006. That was earlier helium took implicit arsenic the Rangers manager, and helium went backmost to Oakland to manager again successful 2015 and 2016, earlier helium went to Atlanta.

Washington reached an unceremonious extremity to his clip successful Texas. The squad had looked past revelations of a affirmative cause trial for cocaine that were made nationalist successful 2010, lone to person Washington resign with small mentation successful 2014 — Washington yet acknowledged that helium had stepped distant due to the fact that helium had an extramarital matter and needed to absorption connected his family.

But helium has ever engendered devotion from players for his seemingly endless proviso of passionateness and enthusiasm for his craft, and his quality to marque them laugh and bask their work.

He is considered 1 of the champion infield coaches successful the game, truthful overmuch truthful that Eric Chavez, Oakland’s six-time Gold Glove-winning 3rd baseman, gave Washington his 2004 award, adorned with the inscription, “Wash, not without you.”

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Credit...Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Alex Anthopoulos, Atlanta’s wide manager, said that Washington’s penetration is held successful the highest respect wrong the organization. No antiaircraft tactical decisions are made oregon adjacent considered without Washington’s input and eventual approval, helium said.

“He has meant everything,” Anthopoulos said successful a substance connection connected Wednesday. “His passion, emotion and mentation are 2nd to none. He ever believed, and deserves this arsenic overmuch arsenic anyone successful the organization.”

Atlanta has won the National League East successful 4 of the 5 years of Washington’s tenure with the team, but it failed to marque it to the World Series until this year. But erstwhile it did, Washington felt definite the squad would spell connected to triumph it all.

He pointed to the enactment the talented players enactment successful and added that they, on with Anthopoulos, Manager Brian Snitker and the remainder of the coaching staff, each did their portion to marque the cognition sizzle passim October — peculiarly successful a World Series Game 6 that Washington tin present grin about, 10 years later.

“I’m overwhelmed close now,” helium said. “I’m truthful happy, I can’t adjacent amusement however happy. That’s however blessed I am.”

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