Baseball America announced today that Astros manager Dusty Baker has been named their 2021 Manager of the Year.
Baker is the third Astros manager to win this award, joining Larry Dierker (1998) and AJ Hinch (2017). This also marks the second time that Baker has won the Baseball America award, with the other time coming in 2000 while managing the Giants. Additionally, Baker has won the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award three times, and was a finalist for that award this season.
In 2021, Baker helped lead the Astros to the World Series, giving the club its third appearance in the Fall Classic in the past five seasons and its fourth trip to the Series in franchise history. En route to the Fall Classic, the Astros first captured the American League West Crown, taking sole possession of first place on June 21 and never looking back. The Astros were 49-27 (.645) vs. the AL West and 45-32 (.584) vs. opponents with winning records. The Astros also had to navigate through Injured List stints by multiple everyday position players and starting pitchers.
In the playoffs, Houston defeated the Chicago White Sox in four games in the American League Division Series and the Boston Red Sox in six games in the American League Championship Series. In the ALCS, Houston rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the next three games to clinch the pennant. In the World Series, the Astros were topped by the Atlanta Braves in six games.
Under Baker, the Astros have a combined 17-12 (.586) record over the past two postseasons, giving them more playoff wins in that span than any other AL club. Baker’s .586 postseason winning percentage as Astros manager is the best in franchise history.
Baker reached two additional milestones in 2021. When the Astros clinched the AL West title in September, he became the first manager in MLB history to win division titles with five different clubs. And, when the Astros advanced to the World Series in October, Baker became the ninth manager in history to win pennants in both the AL and NL.
For his career, the veteran skipper is one of the most successful managers in Major League history, amassing 1,987 wins in his 24 seasons, which ranks 12th all-time. In April, he passed Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel with his 1,906th career win to move into 12th place. 10 of the 11 managers ranked ahead of Baker in career wins are in the Hall Fame. The only one that is not is Bruce Bochy, who currently is not eligible for the Hall of Fame yet. Baker will enter the 2022 season within striking distance of surpassing Bochy (2,003), Leo Durocher (2,008) and Walter Alston (2,040) on the all-time wins list. Notably, Baker played for the 1976 Dodgers, which was Alston’s final season as a manager.