Baseball’s perennial coach, Dusty Baker, finally achieved the sport’s highest achievement, winning his first World Series with the Houston Astros. The Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in Game 6 of the World Series on Saturday night to clinch the title. Dusty showed out during the trophy ceremony on the field at home in Minute Maid Park, during the postgame interview when he was asked by the interviewer what was the most enjoyable thing during the Astros’ run.
Baker’s answer went full Jimmy Johnson from when the Dallas Cowboys’ 1992 team beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game before winning the Super Bowl.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 6, 2022
“How ’bout them Astros!” Baker said through emotion.
The season was destined for Baker to win, with many critical moments like Justin Verlander finally getting his first pitching win in the World Series. In May, Johnnie “Dusty” Baker made history when he became the first Black manager in Major League Baseball to have 2,000 wins. Baker is the 12th manager in major league history to reach the milestone, accomplished when the Houston Astros took a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners in Houston.
“It means extra,” the 72-year-old Baker said after that early season game. “It means extra to the culture. It means extra to society. It means extra to my race, and it means extra hopefully for others to get an opportunity [so] I’m not the last.”
Ironically during that same week in May, Baker’s son, Darren Baker, hit a walk-off sacrifice fly for the Nationals’ High-A affiliate in Wilmington, Delaware. Darren received notoriety in baseball at 3 years old when he was almost run over at the plate during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series. Then-first baseman J.T. Snow picked the young Baker up from the baseline as David Bell crossed the plate on Kenny Lofton’s triple for the Giants.
Johnnie B. Baker Jr. was nicknamed 'Dusty' because of how much he played in the dirt as a kid.
That dirt ended up leading him to an 18-year MLB career and 30-year managerial career.
At 73, the future Hall of Famer just added one more achievement:
World Series-winning manager. pic.twitter.com/Gq3LjbDwG6
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) November 6, 2022
Last year, Darren made his father proud by following his footsteps into the majors when the Nationals drafted him in the 10th round.
Now, with these accomplishments leading up, the former player holds the ultimate prize, the World Series title.
Baker and the Astros took a loss in the World Series last year to the Atlanta Braves and Baker signed a one-year extension with the team to avenge the loss.
“I’ve just got some unfinished business to take care of,” he said at the time of his extension. “We’re close. We’re getting better every year. I thank the organization for giving us the pieces, thank [general manager] James Click for adding the pieces at the right time and the togetherness we have on this team. I’m very proud to be the team’s leader.”
Baker reached the World Series one other time as a coach in 2002 with the San Francisco Giants. Baker managed the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals in his career after leaving San Francisco in 2003. He also became the Giants’ special assistant to the CEO.
— MLB (@MLB) November 6, 2022
Baker’s path to greatness is a true testament to resilience. After playing for the Giants in 1984 and then the Oakland A’s in his final two seasons in ’85 and ’86, Baker began working on Wall Street until he felt compelled to return to baseball for more significant reasons.
“I was a stockbroker in ’87, and then Al Campanis said his word that we (African-Americans) weren’t qualified,” Baker said to NBC Sports. “It was horrible, but sometimes good comes out of a horrible situation. I got a call from Hank (Aaron), Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, for us to all go to Dallas to get minorities jobs when they get through with baseball because baseball at the time, you didnt get any kind of jobs. When your playing days were done, you were done.”
Baker became a World Series champion in 1981 as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, as a coach, he is again a World Series champion, putting a cap on a career steeped in history.