He’s no stranger to making history!
Dusty Baker has made history as the first Black Major League Baseball (MLB) manager to win 2,000 games, CNN reports.
Baker got his start nearly 30 years ago, transitioning from a player to a manager and securing his first win on April 6, 1993, when the Giants secured a victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would go on to keep that winning streak going for the next 25 seasons, becoming the only manager in MLB history to lead five different teams to the postseason and to win division titles with five different clubs including the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and the Astros.
Now Baker has reached a career high, becoming the first Black manager in MLB history to win 2,000 career games after the Astros defeated the Seattle Mariners this past Tuesday night. Baker is now the 12th manager to reach the historic marker, 10 of the previous managers being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with the 11th, Bruce Bochy, not yet eligible for consideration.
“It feels great whenever you reach a goal. I didn’t really have this goal until, I don’t know, four or five years ago, when I realized I had a chance,” Baker told the press.
Over the course of his career, Baker has led his teams to the postseason 11 times and managed in the World Series twice, once in 2002 with the Giants and the last in 2021 with the Astros. Even before his success as a manager, he was a successful player, earning an All-Star title, a Gold Gove win, a Silver Slugger award, a NLCS MVP honor and a World Series championship. Baker is one of just two in MLB history, alongside Joe Torre, to earn up to 1,800 hits as a player and 1,800 wins as a manager. He credits the MLB greats, his supporters and critics with his success.
“I think about Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson, who helped me a lot, Bill Walsh, all the general managers and owners I’ve had whether they fired me eventually or not…It just sort of added to my perseverance and determination and faith. I’ve also got to thank my detractors for giving me the motivation to go on because there’s a lot of people that doubted me in the beginning when I first got the job with no experience, a lot of them that doubted me even though I was winning,” said Baker.
On the night of his 2,000th victory, Baker’s son Darren also marked a milestone in the game, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly that led the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 3-2 victory over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. A true sign that the Baker greatness may be here to stay for a while.
Congratulations, Mr. Baker!
Photo Courtesy David J. Phillip/Associated Press