HOUSTON. From now on, Dusty Baker, the legendary storyteller, first-rate name-lover, toothpick-chewer, and lifelong baseball player, will hold the most prominent title.
World Series Champion Manager.
A man who, like few others, can weave history by wistfully remembering his time under Hank Aaron’s tutelage or chance encounters with Jimi Hendrix, John F. Kennedy Jr. and many others, has completed the one missing chapter in his own story.
After 25 seasons as a major league skipper, spiced with a couple of painful misses, the 73-year-old Baker finally made it home when his Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the title.
“If this had happened years ago, I wouldn’t be here at all,” Baker said. “So maybe this shouldn’t have happened so that I could hope to impact the lives of a few young people and their families and a number of people in the country by showing what perseverance and character can do for you in the long run.”
When Jordan Alvarez In the sixth inning, the cameras were linked to a three-way homer and the cameras moved to a beaming Baker, who raised both arms high above his head. At the end of the game, the coaching staff circled Baker, jumping up and down and chanting “Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!” in the dugout before they joined the players on the field.
Baker’s wife, Melissa, and son Darren Baker took to the field to celebrate his long-awaited title, and they all embraced shortly after the final fight.
“He shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears and the game nearly killed him when he had a stroke in 2017,” she said. “So, just to see how it all fits together – he worked so hard, and if anyone has earned it … it’s him.”
He became the oldest manager to win the World Series in his third trip to the Fall Classic as a manager. As a player, he played three times for the Dodgers, winning them all in 1981.
He entered Game 6 as the best manager without a World Series title and improved to 2094–1790 with this most memorable win.
“I have 2,000 wins and all they say is that I haven’t won the World Series yet,” he said.
They can’t say it anymore.
houston ace Justin Verlander admired the skipper.
“To be the team that was able to do this for him, I know how much it means to him and so much to us,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. Couldn’t be happier for us. I can’t get enough of the city.”
Baker joins Dave Roberts (Dodgers, 2020) and Chito Gaston (Blue Jays, 1992, 1993) as the only black managers to win the World Series.
“I don’t think about becoming an African American coach because I look in the mirror every day and I know who I am,” he said before the game. “You know what I’m talking about? (But) I know there’s a certain amount of pressure from a lot of people who are reaching out for me, especially people of color. And that part I feel. I hear it every day. And so I feel, who was chosen for this.
He did not realize that he was the oldest manager to win the title, but he was well aware that he was only the third black man to win it.
“I don’t think about being the oldest,” he said. “I don’t think about my age. But I’m really thinking about being the third black manager with Dave Roberts and my good friend Sito Gaston, who was really in charge of me growing up when I first signed with the Braves.”
He helped the Astros to their second World Series title and their first since the controversial 2017 win that made Houston the most hated team in baseball. After that, Baker helped clean up the team’s image, and some reluctantly began to root for the Astros because they admired him.
While beloved throughout the game, he quickly became a fan favorite in Houston. On Saturday night, several fans proudly displayed “Do it 4 Dusty” posters.
“You know, I had ups and downs, disappointments? But these disappointments make you stronger or break you,” Baker said. “So it’s kind of the story of my life where people tell me what you can’t do or even now, I’ve won a bunch of games, my teams have won a bunch of games and all I hear is that you don’t you can do. don’t, you don’t like it or you don’t like young players, you don’t know how to handle pitchers, you don’t, and I’m like, well, what the hell did I do? After a while, I stopped listening to people tell me what I can’t do.”
Baker became the 12th manager in major league history to reach 2,000 wins and the first black to do so. Ten of the 11 other managers with at least 2,000 wins are in the Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochi (2003), who is not yet eligible, is the only exception.
Baker managed San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington DC before moving to Houston. He is the only manager in major league history to lead five different teams to the playoffs.
Baker was getting close. In 2002, his San Francisco Giants, starring Barry Bonds, entered Game 6 against the Anaheim Angels, winning non-title. As a road team in the final two games of this series, the Giants squandered a five-round lead, losing 6-5 in Game 6 before the Angels won the title with a 4-1 victory in Game 7.
After a crushing loss in Game 7, Baker faced his father, Johnny B. Baker, Sr., who made a blunt message.
“He’s like, ‘Man, after (you) lost that one, I don’t know if you’ll ever win another one,'” Baker recalled last year.
Even though his father has been gone for over a decade, he still thinks about him every day and often reminisces about that moment. He was forced to prove that his father was wrong.
After being fired from the National Team after a 97-win 2017 season, Baker wondered if he would ever get another chance, let alone win that elusive title.
Back home in Northern California while running his wine business and growing kale in his garden, he often felt bewildered that he had been missed so many interviews as management vacancies came and went, prompting inquiries that he said , remained unanswered. over the years.
Then came 2019 and the stunning revelation that the Astros illegally stole signs in 2017 and again in 2018. Manager AJ Hinch was suspended for a year and then fired, allowing Baker to return to the game.
Baker took over for the shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19. The Astros entered the postseason as a wildcard team and then warmed up in the playoffs, one win short of reaching the World Series.
Baker returned to the Series last season but lost again when Houston lost to Atlanta in six games.
Baker was a lifelong friend of Aaron, who died in January 2021 at the age of 86. He joked that Aaron probably wasn’t on his side against his Braves last year, but this time it should be different.
“He probably rooted for the Braves last year,” Baker said last month. “I guess he’s rooting for me now.”
Hammerin’ Hank would certainly be proud to see his buddy finally hit that milestone as Baker was by his side at his biggest ever.
Baker was on deck and, among the Braves, gathered at the plate to celebrate with Aaron on April 8, 1974, when he hit his 715th home run, the most overtaking Babe Ruth of all time.
When the fact that Baker’s future was uncertain because he was not under contract for next season was brought up, he intervened before the matter was over. “It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’m just going to enjoy today and I’m sure it will be taken care of.”
Before entering the stadium, Baker went through his usual daily routine. He grabbed a coffee at his favorite place in Rice Village and picked up his clothes from the dry cleaners.
Baker also went to a shoemaker for “expensive shoes” that he had repaired because the sole had come off.
That’s a good thing because after winning, he’ll need a good pair of shoes late in his career for a likely Hall of Fame entry.
The St. Louis Cardinals hired former slugger Matt Holliday, who helped the organization win the World Series in 2011, as manager. Oliver Marmolbench coach.
Holliday will replace Skip Shoemaker, who was hired last month as manager of the Miami Marlins.
The Cardinals also announced that Dusty Blake, who was pitching strategist, was promoted to pitching coach and Turner Ward, who was assistant hitting coach, was promoted to hitting coach. Blake replaces Mike Maddux and Ward replaces Jeff Albert. Both left after long tenures as Cardinals.
Cardinals president John Moseliac acknowledged that the club would have a lot of vacancies at the end of last month, saying he had no objection to hiring someone from outside the organization.
“We want to make sure we meet all of our needs,” Mozelyak said.
At Holliday, he took the best of both worlds. The 42-year-old batter, a seven-time All-Star in his 15-year major league career, coached at Oklahoma State in his hometown of Stillwater.
He began his career with the Rockies and then spent eight years in St. Louis, where he became a fan favorite. Holliday retired in 2018 after a year with the Yankees and a final year with Colorado.
The Cardinals expanded their coaching staff by selecting Brand Allen, a member of their minor league staff, over Ward as the hitting assistant coach. Julio Rangle, who was with the Red Sox, will be the new pitching assistant coach.
Patrick Elkins will return for another season as the club’s serial production specialist. Stubby Clapp will return as first base coach, Pop Warner as third base coach, Willie McGee as coach, and Jamie Pogue and Kleininger Teran as bullpen catchers.
The Cardinals went 93-69 and won their second NL Central title in four years this season. They were swept by eventual National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in their two-game wildcard streak.