When the subject of respected managers in 2010 Major League Baseball comes up, most people would start with names like Cox, La Russa, Francona, Madden and Manuel. In that same group or close behind would be Baker, Bochy and (until the last month of the season) Bud Black.

And if you were honest, you would probably have to travel quite a ways down your list before you came up with the name of the skipper who leads the most unlikely and most dominating team—the Texas Rangers—in this year’s MLB postseason: Ron Washington, the best manager no one knows.

The Rangers looked to replace Buck Showalter in November of 2006. The assumption was that Trey Hillman (not exactly a household name) was the shoe-in for the job; however, he was offered more money by the Nippon Ham Fighters to stay on with them.

On to Plan B: Instead the front-office folks down in Arlington, Texas decided to cast their lot with Ron Washington, the best manager no one knows.

From day one, Washington preached fundamentals-first baseball, along with consistent optimism and confidence; however, his first year was a forgettable one—75-87—good for last place in the AL West.

Starting with his second year, the combination of veterans and novices started to produce improvement and progress.

In year three, the Rangers contended, for most of the season, in the wild card race before falling just short in the final week of the season. A disappointing finish for Ron Washington, the best manager no one knows.

Before year four (2010) started, a series of events occurred that could have brought everything to a screeching halt—the financial shape of the Texas Rangers was no secret. Tom Hicks, the team owner at the time, was looking to sell majority interest in the ball club. A prolonged process extended far into the season.

On March 17, 2010, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported that Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season. The manager offered his resignation, but his team and the front office stepped forward to vouch for Ron Washington, the best manager no one knows.

As strange as it seems and as cliche as it could sounds, all of the adversity that could have torn them apart may have been the very thing that brought the Rangers together: First place finish in the AL West; first time in the playoffs in over a decade.

Many predicted that the Texas Rangers would provide only a limited challenge for the Tampa Bay Rays. But they did more than that. After the Rangers beat the Rays in all three games at Tropicana Field to clinch the ALDS, almost everyone predicted a lop-sided series with the Yankees, which it has been but in the opposite direction.

No one will downplay the role that featured players like Cliff Lee, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Vlad Guerrero or less familiar names like Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler or Benjie Molina have played.

But many might overlook the person who has, on the field, combined the Ranger coaches and players into a smoothly running, big-game winning machine: Ron Washington, the best manager more people now know!

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