Johnnie “Dusty” Baker made history on Tuesday 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.
SACRAMENTO'S GREATEST MLB CONTRIBUTION…Atta boy Dusty.
Living Legend. https://t.co/6yInpbuPm4
— BruhBruhBruh916 (@BBruh916) May 4, 2022
“It means extra,” the 72-year-old Baker said after the 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.”
To top it off, on Tuesday, Dusty’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 him up from the baseline as David Bell crossed the plate on Kenny Lofton’s triple for the Giants. Last year, he made his father proud by following his footsteps into the majors when the Nationals drafted him in the 10th round.
The accomplishment comes after Baker and the Astros’ World Series loss to the Atlanta Braves last year and the one-year extension he just signed with the team. Baker reached the World Series one other time in 2002 with the Giants.
“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.”
The Power Of 12
Baker has a legendary career encapsulated by the number 12, his jersey number when a player and his position on the 2,000 wins list. He joins the illustrious group of 11 other managers, including Joe Torre, who have reached the plateau, and the honor is an indication of a future Hall of Fame induction.
“This should lead straight to the Hall of Fame,” Astros catcher Martin Maldonado said to ESPN.
Baker’s first manager gig was with the San Francisco Giants, with his first career win happening at his debut on April 6, 1993, with a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals. Ironically, at the time, the Cards were managed by Joe Torre.
Under his managerial tenure, Baker has been with five teams with impressive wins. He’s known as a team constructor. A manager you hire when you want to elevate your franchise to perennial playoff contender.
His win breakdown reads: 840 with the Giants (1993-2002), 322 with the Cubs (2003-06), 509 with the Reds (2008-13), 192 with Nationals (2016-17), and 137 currently with the Astros (2020-22).
The Winner’s Circle
Baker is a pure winner.
Last season, the Astros clinched the AL West title, making Baker the first person to manage a division winner with five different franchises.
With 11 total postseason appearances, Baker ranks fourth amongst managers, and he is one of nine to win a pennant in both leagues. Only three other 2,000-game winners have accomplished that: Sparky Anderson, Tony La Russa, and Joe McCarthy.
Dusty Baker is baseball, from his 18-year career as a player to his now-legendary managerial career and son’s ascension in the sport. His flowers will never be missing from the sport.