In a career that has spanned over 40-years, both as a player and a manager, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is still chasing that first World Series championship that has eluded him for so long. With this current Astros lineup, he may finally get a chance to hoist up the Commissioner’s Trophy.
A Career For The Ages
Known for his iconic toothpicks and wrist bands, Baker has spent most of his life in baseball. Baker played 19-seasons as an outfielder, mainly with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. Baker won a World Series as a player with the Dodgers in 1981 but is still looking for his first as a manager.
For the last 24-seasons, Baker has been one of the premier managers in MLB. With 1,987 career wins and a three-time manager of the year, Baker has seen it all. Baker is the only manager in MLB history to lead five different teams to division titles.
In 2002, Baker was so close. He managed the San Francisco Giants to a pivotal Game 7 of the World Series against the Anaheim Angels. With a lineup that had the likes of Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, and Livan Hernandez, the Giants just weren’t able to pull it off. Baker would be out as manager during that offseason, but it would be the start of something special for Baker.
The Chicago Cubs would be calling Baker to be their next manager in 2003. The Cubs were still searching for their first World Series since 1908. The Cubs would have probably made it to the World Series that season if it weren’t for the famous fan interference that blocked Cubs left fielder Moises Alou from making a spectacular catch in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Cubs led that series 3-2 but would drop Game 7 to the eventual World Series Champion Florida Marlins.
Baker would go on to spend four seasons with the Cubs before getting let go. Baker would have stops along the way with the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, and current his team, the Houston Astros. All while finding success along the way.
When the Astros came calling, Baker was early into his retirement in California, but there was no hesitation with the opportunity to manage a team built for the postseason. Baker took the job, but it came with a lot of noise and negativity. Through all of that, the desire to win was still there for Baker.
In his first season with the Astros, Baker guided this team to Game 7 of the ALCS last season before losing to the Tampa Bay Rays. This season, the Astros won the American League West division title. Baker talked about this division title with Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart saying, “This one is really special because of the negative vibes that we got from all over the world. Our fans here were great. It was so great to do it here at home. It’s very special, especially when I was called back out of retirement and got a great group of guys and a great team. These guys are so together. That’s what I like more than anything.”
The Astros are back in the ALCS for the fifth straight season, this time facing the Boston Red Sox. It will be no small task, but the Astros are in the driver’s seat with Baker at the helm, looking to win it all in 2021.
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