Wash’s way: A look inside Ron Washington’s path to the top

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SAN FRANCISCO – Ron Washington is almost home. Rather, he’s across San Francisco Bay from the last stop of his prior life.

Rangers manager Ron Washington basked in his team’s decisive Game 5 win over Tampa Bay in the American League Division Series this month. After a long career as a journeyman player and coach, he now has his team in its first World Series.

He was a 54-year-old baseball gypsy then, the Oakland A’s cocksure, cussin’ third base and infield coach.

Four years later, he’s a World Series manager. Perhaps that bears repeating, with emphasis on World and Series, as Washington leads the Rangers into Game 1 tonight against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Seven months and 10 days after he publicly apologized for trying one line of cocaine during the 2009 season, Washington says he is humbled and grateful to have maximized the second chance many believed he didn’t deserve.

Washington’s self-belief never wavered. It is culled from 40 years in pro baseball, as player and coach. In many respects, he remains the scrapper who played for nine minor league teams before getting his first full season in the majors, at age 30 in 1982.

“I don’t believe in redemption and I don’t believe in payback and all that stuff,” he said. “One thing about Ron Washington is he’s comfortable in his skin.

“I know that I know baseball. Whoever doubts that, that’s on them. That’s not on Ron Washington.”

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