WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the Nationals’ playoff hopes fading rapidly, Davey Johnson resorted to superstitious methods in an attempt to conjure up some offensive magic against the Brewers over the weekend, and seemingly for the rest of the season.
Upon arriving at their hotel in Milwaukee last Wednesday, off the heels of being swept in a two-game set in Detroit, Davey saw a familiar face in the lobby – Hammerin’ Hank Aaron – and made sure to introduce his young club to the longtime home run king, individually.
“I went right up to him and the players were coming in, and I grabbed them one by one as they came by and wanted them to shake Henry’s hand, so hopefully that offensive magic that Henry had would rub off on them,” Johnson told Nats’ play-by-play announcer Dave Jageler on Saturday.
Davey was teammates with Aaron for two seasons in Atlanta (1973, 1974), who he called the best hitter he’s ever seen.
“I lockered right next to him,” Johnson told Jageler. “And the only time he ever got mad is when I changed the station on his stereo in his locker.”
At the time of the interview, prior to the second game between the Nats-Brewers on Saturday, it seemed Washington’s brush with greatness had worked. The Nats went on to win 3-0 that day, and would drop the third game but win the series.
But in a cruel twist of fate, the Nats returned to Washington just in time to welcome the Braves of Atlanta, who promptly reminded them how far they still trailed in the NL East.
Listen to the full interview below, including a fun anecdote about Hank Aaron skipping a day-off, just to blast a homer off John ‘Count’ Montefusco on a roadie in San Francisco.