Have you ever wanted something so badly, but it seemed to elude you forever?
Well, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker knew what that felt like prior to the Houston Astros facing the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, November 5th. He entered that game being labeled as the winningest manager of all time without having a World Series title to claim.
All the accolades. All the records. All the love for the game.
Sadly, all many people and sports analysts could talk do was talk about Baker never winning a World Series title as a manager. Now, he no longer has to worry about that ever again, as the baseball veteran accomplished the one goal that has eluded him for years as a manager.
Dusty Baker is now a part of an elite class and has now reached an even greater level of legendary status, whereas after 25 seasons as a Major League Baseball (MLB) manager, he led the Astros to his first-ever World Series title as a manager.
As the Astros got their final out and the celebrations began with the players on the field, all eyes were on the dugout, as Baker was swarmed by his Astros coaches and training staff, who chanted:
“Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!”
Baker was already a legend…now he is “Baseball Royalty”!
Baker became just the third African American manager in MLB history to win a World Series, joining Cito Gaston who won two World Series titles with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, and Dave Roberts who won a World Series title with the Dodgers in 2020.
Did we mention that Baker was already an icon and a legend prior to his first World Series championship win over the Philadelphia Phillies in six games?
Baker’s career in the sport of baseball has Hall of Fame written all over it. He has accomplished so much over his storied career, and it should be celebrated.
Baker, at the age of 73, became the oldest manager to ever win a World Series and the oldest to win a championship out of the four major American professional sports—baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Back in May, Baker became the first Black manager, and only the 12th manager overall, in MLB history to win 2,000 career games.
Baker has had some legendary moments. He won a World Series as a baseball player with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and was on deck to bat when his teammate and close friend Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth for most home runs in MLB history.
Baker had come close so many times before but fell short. In 2002, he took the San Francisco Giants to the World Series and had two chances to win on the road but lost to the Anaheim Angels with Barry Bonds as his star player. He joined the Astros in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, after former manager A.J. Hinch was fired because of cheating allegations. Baker almost made it to the National League Championship Series in 2020 and were two games away from beating the Atlanta Braves in the World Series in 2021. The third year was a charm!
Baker has always said that if he won one World Series as a manager, he would win two.
After winning his first World Series title, Baker recently announced he wanted to do it all again, and it is being reported that Astros owner Jim Crane has stated that he plans to formally extend “Baseball Royalty” a contract and bring him back for 2023.
Baseball has always been a passion of Baker’s in that as a child being raised in Riverside, California, he played for his father as part of the Lions Little League at Patterson Park during the summer and that gave him the hope of one day playing professional baseball.
Baker was eventually drafted by the Atlanta Braves and made his debut on September 7, 1968, as a 19-year-old player. He went on to have a outstanding baseball career with the Atlanta Braves from 1968 to 1975; with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to 1983, where he won a World Series as a baseball player; with the San Francisco Giants in 1984; and with the Oakland Athletics from 1985 to 1986. Baker appeared in 2,039 games, had a .278 batting average, and finished his playing career with 242 home runs, 1981 hits and 1,013 RBI in over 7,100 plate appearances. Baker played on the National League All-Star team twice, earned a Gold Glove Award for outstanding fielding, and played in four postseasons.
Baker is the only a three-time Major League Baseball Manager of the Year honoree in Major League history, and is a former U.S. Marine, who is a bilingual speaker who can effectively communicate with all his players on the team, as most speak English and Spanish.
Baker recently expressed the need for MLB baseball to do more to recruit and teach African American young boys the game, and I know he will serve as an ambassador to help do just that.
It is our hope that his storied career will encourage other young Black boys to have the same desire to play the game and play professional baseball as he once had as a young boy growing up in California.
World Series Champion as a baseball player and now World Series champion as a baseball manager…Dusty Baker is the true definition of “Baseball Royalty” and a legend.
Houston, it is only fitting that this African American icon be celebrated by officially bestowing Dusty Baker with the regal title of “Baseball Royalty” in our great City!