ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19: Managers Tony La Russa #10 (R) of the St. Louis Cardinals and Ron Washington #38 of the Texas Rangers shake hands prior to the start of Game One of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 19, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
There aren't many managers of successful teams in baseball that are more questioned on a regular basis than Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Whether its his affinity for the bunt or his sometimes questionable handling of his pitching staff, there are always armchair quarterbacks questioning Washington's decisions as soon as, and even at times before, a Rangers game ends.
Two guys that Washington has gone head-to-head with in high-leverage games weighed in on the Texas skipper recently in former Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and former Pirates, Rockies, Marlins and Tigers manager Jim Leyland, both of whom will be in the Hall of Fame one day.
Washington had his most gut-wrenching loss to date against La Russa's Cardinals in the 2011 World Series, when the Rangers were one strike away — twice — from winning it all in Game 6 before losing in extra innings and falling in Game 7.
"My opinion is shared by a lot of people in the game, because we talk among ourselves," La Russa told TexasRangers.com. "Ron is outstanding. He is a very solid game manager. There's no surprise they went to two World Series. You don't do that and go to the seventh game of the World Series — they easily could have won that — unless he has a real good idea of what he's doing.
"It would be one thing if they had been struggling, but they've won two American League championships. You've got to be good if you put your club in position to do that. You can't overcome a bad manager. You might be able to do it occasionally, but they couldn't overcome a bad manager to do what they have done. He's done a great job."
In 2011, prior to that World Series heartbreak, the Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers in six games, as Washington got the best of Leyland.
"His style is an aggressive style," Leyland said. "He's very smart. He's very bright. He's not afraid to take a chance. If his club's struggling to score runs, he's not afraid to manufacture some offense. I think that's a part of having your team prepared. You know going in they're going to push, so you try to prepare your team for that. But Ron's smart. He's not afraid to generate something. He's got it figured out."