At 73, Dusty Baker finally gets a World Series title
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
Dusty Baker became the oldest manager to win a World Series in his third trip as a manager to the Fall Classic. As a player he went three times with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981.
After 25 seasons as a big league skipper peppered with a couple of painful near-misses, the 73-year-old Baker finally made it all the way home when his Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the title.
He entered Saturday’s game as the winningest manager without a World Series title and improved to 2,094-1,790 with this most memorable victory.
He joins Dave Roberts (Dodgers, 2020) and Cito Gaston (Blue Jays, 1992, 1993) as the only Black managers to win a World Series.
“I don’t think about being an African American manager because I look in the mirror every day and I know what I am,” he said before the game. “You know what I’m saying? (But) I do know that there’s certain pressure from a lot of people that are pulling for me, especially people of color. And that part I do feel. I hear it every day… and so I feel that I’ve been chosen for this.”
He helped the Astros to their second World Series title and first since the scandal-tainted one in 2017 that made Houston the most hated team in baseball. Baker helped clean up the team’s image after that and some begrudgingly began rooting for the Astros because they admired him.
While beloved across the game, he quickly became a fan favorite in Houston. Saturday night several fans proudly displayed signs that read “Do it 4 Dusty.”
Baker is the 12th manager in major league history to reach 2,000 wins and the first Black man to do it.
David J. Phillip - staff, AP
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches play during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston.
David J. Phillip - staff, AP
Fans hold up a sign for Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston.
Chris Szagola - staff, FR170982 AP
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches batting practice before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Thomas Shea/USA Today Sports
Houston Astros Manager Dusty Baker answers questions from the press at Minute Maid Park on October 27. Baker said it "looks bad" that there will be no US-born Black players in the 2022 World Series.
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) stands on the field with second baseman Jose Altuve (27) during player introductions before Game 3 of an American League Championship baseball series, against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr., center, celebrates with pitcher Hector Neris, left, and pitcher Cristian Javier, right, after defeating the Seattle Mariners in Game 3 of an American League Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
David J. Phillip - staff, AP
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches during a workout ahead of Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Houston. The Astros will play the Seattle Mariners Tuesday.
David J. Phillip
Houston Astros' Dusty Baker Jr. (12) celebrates after a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Houston. The Astros won 4-0 giving Baker 2,000 career wins. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches during the ninth inning in Game 6 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. holds the trophy after their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
This storyline is easy: Dusty Baker goes up against San Francisco, the team he began his managerial career with in 1993. Baker took the Giants to a World Series in 2002 — still his only pennant as a big league skipper — but they lost to the Angels in seven games that year.
Kevin M. Cox
No need for any deep digging on this matchup. When Houston’s sign-stealing scheme came to light, Dodgers fans were among the most aggrieved, because they lost to the Astros in the 2017 World Series. Former Dodgers star Dusty Baker now manages Houston.
New Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker smiles during a baseball press conference at Minute Maid Park, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
David J. Phillip - staff, AP
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. and the Houston Astros celebrate their 4-1 World Series win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston.
Los Angeles Dodgers Dusty Baker (12) reacts as he leaps in on Houston Astros second baseman Phil Garner (3) after hitting a double to left field driving in the Dodgers first run in Game 3 of the National League West playoffs at Los Angeles, Oct. 9, 1981. (AP Photo)
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker argues with home pate umpire Mike Estabrook in the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Cincinnati. Baker was ejected from the game along with Reds' Jerry Hairston Jr. for arguing strikes. Atlanta won 10-2. (AP Photo/Cincinnati Enquirer,Ernest Coleman)
JAMES A. FINLEY
Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, left, and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa talk near the batting cage before their team's baseball game in St. Louis Sunday, June 4, 2006. Both manager's power hitters are injured including Derreck Lee of the Cubs and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals Pujols was injured during their baseball game Saturday. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, right, disgustedly gets the last word in with umpire Joe West as West walks away after making a call against the Dodgers in the sixth inning in game with Cincinnati Reds, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1982 in Los Angeles. Dodgers Dusty Baker was called out for interfering with catcher Dave Van Gorder’s throw to second on a steal attempt by Ron Roenicke. The Reds came from behind to win 4-3 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Lennox Mclendon)
Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, right, argues a strike call with umpire Randy Marsh in the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Saturday, June 10, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Los Angeles Dodgers Ken Landreaux (44) receives the 'high-five' from teammate Dusty Baker after Landreaux rounded the bases on a two run homer in the sixth inning on Friday, April 30, 1983 game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers won 4-3. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)
Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, left, autographs a baseball for fans before a baseball game against the Washington Nationals , Sunday, July 23, 2006, in Washington. The Nationals won 7-1.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
GENE J. PUSKAR
** FILE ** Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker acknowledges a fan in the stands at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, during an extra-inning game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in baseball action Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006, in Pittsburgh. The Cincinnati Reds have hired Baker as their manager, The Associated Press has learned, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar,file)
A man holds up a sign displaying his feelings about Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, between innings of a baseball game between the Cubs and the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker pauses for the national anthem prior to the start of a baseball game in Chicago against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Joseph Oliver)
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, left, is greeted by Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Tuesday, April 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, left, hears from umpire Eric Cooper after being ejected in the seventh inning of the Reds' baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, May 22, 2008 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
** FILE ** In this Aug. 7, 2008 file photo, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, left, watches a baseball game against the Houston Astros in the dugout with son Darren, 9, in Cincinnati. This weekend, Baker will be the fill-in coach for his son Darren's 10-and-under traveling tournament baseball team, Hard 90 Pastime out of Roseville, Calif., near the Bakers' Northern California home. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, looks away after colliding with Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) while safely returning to second base as Phillips and manager Dusty Baker talk to an umpire during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, in St. Louis. Pujols was caught off second after teammate Ryan Ludwick flew out to left fielder Laynce Nix. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker reflects on his successful 1997 season after being named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writer's Association of America, Thursday, Nov. 6, 1997, during a press conference in Oakland, Calif. This is the second time Baker was named NL Manager of the Year. (AP Photo/Andy Kuno)
San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker waves to the crowd after the Giants played their final game in the former Candlestick Park, Thursday, Sept. 30, 1999, in San Francisco. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Giants 9-4. (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)
FILE- In this Aug. 7, 2008, file photo, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, right, talks with son Darren, 9, in the dugout prior to the start of a baseball game against the Houston Astros in Cincinnati. Baker, who now manages the Washington Nationals, will miss the Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against San Diego. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker, right, hugs former San Diego Padres Garry Templeton before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker waves to the crowd in the stands as they celebrate after clinching the National League East title after a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Washington.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker and Brittany Apgar, 14, of Pleasant Garden, N.C., get ready to deliver the lineup card to home plate umpire Jerry Layne (24) before Game 5 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, at Nationals Park, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2016, file photo, Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker pauses in the dugout before a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at Nationals Park in Washington. The Nationals announced Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, that Baker won't be back next season. Baker led the Nationals to the NL East title in each of his two years with the club. But Washington lost its NL Division Series both times. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon,M File)
Former manager Dusty Baker shows off the lining of his sport coat before the start of an opening day baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Seattle Mariners Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in San Francisco. Baker recently rejoined his former team as a special advisor to San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
FILE - In this July 8, 2017, file photo, Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker watches batting practice before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Washington. A person with knowledge of the negotiations said Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, that Baker, 70, is working to finalize an agreement to become manager of the Houston Astros. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been completed. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File)
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, left, stands with his son Darren Baker, center, and baseball great Hank Aaron, right, as the national anthem plays during the Civil Rights Game ceremony before a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, Saturday, June 20, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
Los Angeles Dodger Dusty Baker and his wife make their way through the several thousand fans waiting to greet them on Oct. 29, 1981, when they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. Baker had two hits in the sixth and final game to help the Dodgers beat the Yankees 9-2 in the World Series. (AP Photo/Lennox Mclendon)