Count Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington among those who will miss retiring Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland. For Washington, as with so many current managers and coaches in the game, Leyland has been a mentor.
"I just sit back and hope and wish that my managing career in the game can match all that Jim has," Washington told Dallas reporters Monday. "We just lost a tremendous baseball man, an excellent manager, and I know the organization in Detroit is going to miss him. I think Jim made that decision for what was best for he and his family, and I wish him the best."
It was Leyland that looked out for Washington when the Rangers' skipper first got the Texas job, asking him before Washington's first spring training was even over if he'd join Leyland's coaching staff at the All-Star Game. It was a moment that Washington never forgot and he's been able to follow suit by asking some managers who have never coached in an All-Star Game to join him, since he's managed the game twice following consecutive World Series appearances a few years ago.
"He gave me a lesson on how to treat people," Washington said. "Jim has always been a teacher and he never stopped teaching and that was something he taught me as a young manager."
Washington asked Manny Acta to join him on the staff of the 2011 All-Star Game. It was Acta's first All-Star coaching assignment. He also tabbed John Farrell that year, in part because Farrell was new to the managing fraternity.