The Houston Astros have advanced to their fourth World Series appearance in six years. Manager Dusty Baker has guided them there the past two years (2021, 2022). At 73 years of age and in his third trip to the Fall Classic, now is as good a time as any for destiny to be on the side of Baker.
“My future is now. I think it’s today. I’m not really worried about my future because I’m just glad after having cancer and a stroke, I’m glad to be here today and watch the sun come up every day hopefully the next 10 or 12 years,” Baker said.
Dusty Baker asked about his future: “My future is now. I think it’s today. I’m not really worried about my future because I’m just glad after having cancer and a stroke, I’m glad to be here today and watch the sun come up every day hopefully the next 10 or 12 years.” pic.twitter.com/1AniFZFbWO
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 22, 2022
In 2001 Baker was diagnosed with prostate cancer during an exam. His father had been diagnosed with the disease eight years earlier. He had surgery in December of that year to remove his prostate.
In 2012 Baker was hospitalized for both an irregular heartbeat and a “mini-stroke.”
Events like that change your life. So it’s easy to understand Baker’s perspective. When you manage to survive incidents that could have ended your life, it clarifies and brings what really matters into focus.
Baker has been an excellent manager at every stop. He managed the Cubs to a division title and within a win of a pennant. He took the Reds and Nationals to first-place finishes. Four of Baker’s last eight seasons have ended with his team winning their division.
He is one of only nine managers to win a pennant in both the American and National leagues. He also has the most wins (2,093) of any manager without a World Series title. Baker is the only Black manager with 2,000 wins.
A win with the Astros in this World Series would be especially sweet for Baker. He’s ninth all-time in managerial wins, and a title would likely cement his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 2002 with a stacked lineup led by the best player in baseball (Barry Bonds), Baker’s San Francisco Giants ran into a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim team of destiny in seven games. The Giants outscored the Angels by three runs and were six outs away from the title but couldn’t get over the hump.
Last year the Astros ran into the Atlanta Braves, who were peaking at the exact right time, and lost in six games.
Perhaps the third time is the charm.
“I stay hungry,” Baker said. “It’s a long road to get here. There’s a lot that happens in the months to get here from spring training. It means that we persevered and we stayed together.”
The Astros will take on the Philadelphia Phillies who are seemingly another team of destiny. They finished third in the National League East this season but have been on a tear this postseason, led by NLCS MVP Bryce Harper. He is batting .419 with a 1.351 OPS this postseason, with five homers and six doubles in 46 plate appearances.
Baker is competitive and wants to win, and so do the Astros. If they are to win this Fall Classic, Baker and the Astros will need destiny to ride in their favor.