With over 40 years in baseball – almost 20 as a player and over 20 as a manager – Dusty Baker, who is currently at the helm of the Washington Nationals, has seen plenty. His journey has taken him from small to large market teams and across the entire U.S. This is one legend who isn’t content with just being a part of America’s pastime – he’s still a part of baseball’s present and future.
Join us as we take a look at the road Dusty Baker has walked to make it from playing in the minors to coaching World Series contenders.
Player Power, Powerful Player
Born Johnnie B. Baker, the California native entered professional baseball as a player through the 1967 MLB June Amateur Draft. He was selected in the 26th round by the Atlanta Braves. While he did his work in the minors – receiving call-ups every year from 1968 forward – Baker didn’t join the Braves majors squad until 1972.
He would eventually leave the Atlanta Braves and Georgia to return home to the Golden State as a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His best stretch as a member of the Blue Crew came between the 1980 and 1982 seasons. Baker would finish in the top 10 of MVP voting twice, attend two All-Star games, earn two Silver Slugger awards, and receive one Gold Glove. Oh, and he also would be a part of the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Champions side.
Baker would round out his playing days playing with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics before starting the next phase of his professional association with baseball.
Move to Management
Dusty Baker assumed the role as manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1993, and he had a better first year than anyone could have expected. The ’93 Giants finished the season with a record of 103-59, which earned Baker NL Manager of the Year honors. He would win the award two more times with the Giants, in 1997 and 2000. Baker almost navigated his team to a World Championship but lost 4-3 in a seven game series against the Anaheim Angels in 2002. That was also the end of his tenure in San Francisco.
He would move eastward to Chicago, where he’d take the Cubs to the postseason in one out of four seasons, before heading to the Cincinnati Reds. Baker’s performance as the manager of the Reds saw his team make it to the postseason in three of his six seasons, but he never advanced further than the first round. All of this experience would take Dusty to the nation’s capital in 2016, where he signed on to manage the Washington Nationals. While he hasn’t replicated the 2002 season in charge of the San Francisco Giants to date, the Nationals represent an excellent opportunity to make a huge playoff push.
A National Treasure
Whether you’re a fan of Dusty from his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers or are hoping he helps take your Washington Nationals deep into the postseason, be the best-equipped MLB supporter you know! Fanatics.com has the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel for all 32 teams with low prices, fast shipping, and a variety of sizes.