Monday, November 29, 2021

2021 World Series: The undeniably likable Dusty Baker.

October 26, 2021 by  
Filed under News, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( Houston and Atlanta are battling in this year’s World Series to be the champions of the 2021 Major League Baseball season. Atlanta is making its first appearance in the World Series since being swept by the New York Yankees in 1999 while Houston is making its third World Series appearance since 2017. Two of those Houston Astros teams were managed by A.J. Hinch while this year’s Astros are led by longtime MLB manager Dusty Baker, whose baseball career has been a big success as a player and manager. Even casual sports fans are familiar of Dusty Baker given his longevity as a manager, his trademark glasses, and the toothpick and wristbands that he usually sports while managing the game. While sports fans with no connections to either team root for players on a team during a championship game or series, the personality and history of Baker makes him an easy person to support this World Series.

Only people of a certain age would realize that Johnnie B. Baker, known to most as “Dusty”, had a productive playing career in Major League Baseball prior to becoming the manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1993. A two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Baker’s playing career also included being the outfield partner to the legendary Hank Aaron when both were in Atlanta during much of the 1970s. During his playing career, Dusty Baker also had some notable postseason performances especially in the 1977 National League Championship Series when he earned the NLCS Most Valuable Player award after hitting .357 with two home runs and eight RBI as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over his 19-year playing career, Baker was able to win a World Series as a member of the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.

dusty baker 2021

The World Series championship has eluded Dusty Baker as a manager. He is most known as the manager for the San Francisco Giants during most of Barry Bonds’ Giants career. Due to the controversy around Bonds for so many reasons, it can be a double-edged sword to be his longtime manager in benefitting from the absurd and disputable production of Bonds while having to deal with Bonds’ strong temperament and the media storm of his performance-enhancing drug usage allegations. It is notable that Dusty Baker did win the National League Manager of the Year three times in San Francisco and no one player, even Bonds, is responsible solely for those achievements.

This World Series for Dusty Baker is his second World Series appearance as a manager after the 2002 Giants lost to the Angels. In reaching the World Series with the American League’s Astros after doing so with the National League’s Giants, Baker became only the ninth manager in history to win a pennant in each league. He also is the only manager in history to reach the postseason with five different organizations with 11 total postseason appearances. Baseball has arguably the hardest challenge for its teams to make it to the playoffs with a regular season of 162 games and less than half of the teams in the league making to the playoffs unlike the NHL and NBA’s large playoff groups.

Baker, as the second oldest manager to appear in the World Series, deserves a ton of credit for arriving in Houston last season during the pandemic and navigating the controversy of the sign-stealing scandal of the team’s past to get the Astros to the ALCS last year. He deserves more credit having to deal with opposing fans returning to the ballpark angry with the Astros for the scandal this season to get to the World Series this season. The Astros players love and respect him. Dusty Baker deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame after he retires regardless of whether the Astros win the World Series or not.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines 

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