A Houston Astros World Series title led to Hall of Fame induction for manager Dusty Baker

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2022 World Series ended a nearly three-decade wait for Dusty Baker to finally achieve the only feat he has missed in his Hall of Fame career.

Baker, who was part of the Los Angeles Dodgers roster that won the 1981 World Series, won his first managerial title in his 25th season and 29 years after he debuted in the role in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants.

The Riverside, Calif., native lost in the Major League Finals in 2002 with the Giants and last year with the Astros.

“It’s very important,” Baker said hours before the first pitch of Game 6 of the Fall Classic.

“I mean, I’m over 2,000 hits and all they’re saying is I haven’t won a World Series yet, you know? So yes, it is important. People care. It is important for us,” he added.

At age 73, Baker is the oldest manager to win a Commissioner’s Trophy. Jack McKeon was 72 and 11 months old when he led the Miami Marlins to a title in 2003. More than 2,000 regular season hits by a manager before winning the World Series.

He also became the third black manager to guide a team to win it all, joining his friend and mentor Chito Gaston (Toronto Blue Jays in 1992-93) and current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to do so in 2020.

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“I don’t think about being an African-American manager because I look in the mirror every day and I know what I am. You know what I’m talking about?” Baker said Saturday.

“I know there’s some pressure from a lot of people who support me, especially people of color. I feel that part. I hear it every day. When I walk down the street, I see a policeman, a bellhop, or people of color, especially people of color who are African-American. So I’m for this. I feel chosen.”

Baker, who played 19 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Oakland Athletics between 1968 and 1986, began his coaching career with the Giants in 1988, but didn’t get his first coaching opportunity until he was 44 years old.

In its first season, San Francisco finished with a perfect record of 103-59, but lost the Western Division pennant by one game to Atlanta (104-58).

A third division, the Central, was created and a wild-card figure was created, so Baker failed to make it that season, even though he won the National League Manager of the Year award. and 2000.

Legendary manager led his clubs to postseason 1997, 2000, 2002 (Giants); 2003 (Chicago Cubs); 2010, 2012 and 2013 (Cincinnati Reds); Washington Nationals (2016 and 2017), and 2020, 2021 and 2022 (Astros). Five different teams in the playoffs is a major league record.

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Baker, who is ninth in regular season wins (2,093), is now fourth in the postseason with 51.

When the Nationals fired him after leading the team to two straight postseasons (2016-17), there was doubt that Baker would ever manage again in the big leagues, which at the time tended to put young guys and, in the opinion of some, could handle. Responsible.

Even his Hall of Fame candidacy was at a standstill, mainly due to the lack of a World Series crown on his record. Because he was over 62 years old when he left Washington, Baker immediately qualified for consideration for sports immortality, but he was not selected.

A call-up from the Astros in January 2020 changed everything for the better.

In the three years he was hired by Houston (with the dual purpose of running the team and helping mitigate the public damage of the identity-theft scandal brought to the organization), Baker amassed a 230-154 record, making two MLB appearances. The Finals and, most importantly, the elusive World Series title he had sought for nearly three decades.

Now, there’s no excuse when his name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot. Of the 12 managers who won more than 2,000 games, Baker and Bruce Bochy, who returned to manage the Texas Rangers the following season, are the only ones without a plaque in Cooperstown.

“It doesn’t matter if I get into the Hall of Fame. If I don’t, that’s okay,” Baker said as the World Series began.

Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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