It’s his first win in 25 seasons!
Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker Jr. was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 26th round of the Major Baseball League (MLB) in 1967. He was an exceptional player, accumulating 1,981 hits, 320 doubles, 242 homers, 1,013 RBI's, 964 runs and 137 stolen bases throughout his career. He’s also gained many recognitions, such as an All-Star title, a Gold Gove win, a Silver Slugger award, a NLCS MVP honor, and a World Series championship.
After hanging up his mitt, he decided to return back to the dugout as a MLB manager. He made history earlier this year as the first Black Major League Baseball manager to win 2,000 games! He became the only manager in MLB history to lead five teams to the postseason and to win a division title with five different teams: the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, and the Astros.
“I got 2,000 wins and all they talk about is I haven’t won the World Series yet,” Baker said.
But that just changed! With the Astros recent 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the championship win makes 73-year-old Baker the oldest manager to win a World Series, older than any head coach who has ever won a Super Bowl, an N.B.A. championship or a Stanley Cup. Prior to this year, he’s been to the World Series twice - in 2002 with the Giants and in 2021 with the Astros - but this is his first managerial win. Baker’s wife Melissa and son Darren Baker were present on the field to help him celebrate this feat.
For Baker, being the third African-American manager and one of the oldest coaches is pivotal for him. Baker told Metro Philadelphia, “I don’t think about being the oldest. I don’t think about my age. But I do think about being the third Black manager with Dave Roberts and my good friend Cito Gaston, who was responsible really for me as a kid when I first signed with the Braves.”
The cancer and stroke survivor has not only won on the field but he’s winning everyone’s heart. He has a lot of skills, but also a lot of compassion. As a manager, he makes sure to connect with each player and staff member, which makes some wonder if that’s the key to all the wins. He’ll forever be remembered as “one of the greatest human beings baseball has ever known.”
Members on the team like Jeremy Peña spoke on Baker’s kind character, saying, "Dusty Baker is a legend in this game. He's been great to me since the first day we met. He took me in spring training, gave me great advice. He brings the best out of his players. He gives you all the confidence in the world and you can't expect more from a manager."
According to CBS Sports, Baker is a legend and a true titan of the sport. Now that he has his ring as a manager, his resume is complete. When asked if he would continue managing, Baker answered, “If I win one, I might as well win two.”
We second that. Congratulations, Mr. Baker!
Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images