Before the Nationals hired Matt Williams as their manager in 2013, they were rumored to have had serious discussions with Cal Ripken Jr. about the position. Then, almost immediately after the Nationals' job became vacant this past Monday, the Hall of Famer's name started coming up again as a potential replacement for Williams.
Ripken acknowledged interest in the job for the first time publicly on Friday, when during a radio interview he said he would "answer the phone" if the Nationals called.
"Everybody wants a phone call like that," Ripken told "The Rich Eisen Show." "I'd answer the phone. I'd like to ask some questions myself."
The Nationals dismissed Williams, who won National League Manager of the Year in 2014, along with his coaching staff one day after a disappointing '15 season concluded, in which Washington finished 83-79 and second in the NL East. General manager Mike Rizzo said during a conference call on Monday he considered previous managerial experience an important criterion in hiring the team's next manager, after hiring Williams as a first-time skipper.
Ripken, who became an icon as a Hall of Fame shortstop with the Orioles but has never managed, could be an exception.
As a 19-time All-Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player, Ripken is widely respected around the game. Veteran Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth endorsed Ripken in 2013, telling the Washington Post, "he would be my No. 1 choice."
Ripken did describe his lack of managerial experience as a "risk," but said he believed he could overcome it.
"The baseball background that I have -- you're a student of the game -- there's a lot said about experience or lack of experience in managers coming through," Ripken said during the interview. "To me, it's all about your philosophy -- how you handle things, what you're going to do. And then it's being able to apply it.
"I haven't had a chance to apply that, so no one knows. So that would be a risk, I suppose. I'm in the business world now, and all the time it seems like I'm asking for experts to come around and tell me what to do -- because I don't have that background to fall back on. But in baseball, I have that background to fall back on -- and I would know how to deal with whatever situations there are, because I've seen it."
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.