WASHINGTON — After his contract expired with the Washington Nationals this offseason, former first base coach Davey Lopes decided to call it a career, nearly 50 years after he was first drafted as a player.
“I’m not doing much. I’m retired, taking it easy,” Lopes told the Newsmakers podcast earlier this week. “It was not a difficult decision to make, but one I was kind of hesitant to make. But it all works out.
“I got the opportunity to play, manage or coach for a long, long time. I’m extremely thankful. I was one of the lucky ones in the big leagues for 45 straight years. That’s a long time. I have no complaints.”
Known as a base-stealing savant, Lopes had 557 swiped bags in 1,812 career games before bringing his knowledge to the coaching game. He helped groom Trea Turner into one of the best instinctive runners in the game.
Before that, he coached in Baltimore, managed in Milwaukee, and held the first base coach position in San Diego and Philadelphia before Washington.
In Philly, he oversaw a prolific base stealing operation, leading MLB in stolen base percentage each season between 2007 and 2009. His 2007 team mark of 87.9 percent is the best in MLB history.
It’s no surprise that Jayson Werth considered Lopes to be the best coach he ever had.
“I always liked what I was doing,” Lopes said on the podcast. “You have to have students and guys that love to play, want to learn and want to win. That’s even more important.
“I had the opportunity to work with a lot of people. You don’t do this thing alone.”
Lopes was not retained after the Nationals hired new manager Dave Martinez this offseason. He will be replaced on the Nationals staff by Tim Bogar.