Dusty Baker, Manager, Washington Nationals

Date of Birth: 6/15/1949
Birthplace: Riverside, California
College: American River College

Dusty Baker, manager of the Washington Nationals, is another manager who had a successful career as a player first. Baker was an outfielder for 19 years with four teams (Atlanta Braves, 1968-1975; Los Angeles Dodgers, 1976-1983; San Francisco Giants, 1984; Oakland Athletics, 1985-1986). He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1967 while he was still in high school and he started playing with them the following year. His impressive statistics as a player over 19 years include:

  • 2,039 games played
  • 1,981 hits, with a high of 174 in 1973
  • 964 runs scored, with a high of 101 in 1973
  • 320 doubles, with a high of 35 in 1974
  • 242 hr, with a high of 30 in 1977
  • 1,013 RBIs, with a high of 99 in 1973
  • 137 SB, with a high of 24 in 1973
  • BA .278, with highs of .321 in 1972, .320 in 1981, .300 in 1982

In 1977, Baker won the NL Championship series MVP award. Three years later, he won his first Silver Slugger award and in 1981, he won the NL Gold Glove award and his second Silver Slugger award.

Three years after retiring as a player, Baker became a coach for the San Francisco Giants. In 1993, he advanced to the manager's job, a position he held for 10 years. From 1993 through 2002, Baker led the Giants to two first place finishes in the NL West division, six second place finishes, and two fourth place finishes. The Giants, under Baker's leadership, had seven winning seasons. The Giants won the NL Division series in 1997 and 2000 but they didn't make it to the World Series. In 2002, the Giants won the NL Wild Card but they lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Angeles. Baker, for his outstanding leadership of the Giants, won the NL Manager of the Year award three times (1993, 1997, 2000).

After his successful run as manager of the Giants, Baker left to become manager of the Chicago Cubs. His first year with the Cubs was a winning one, ending the 2003 season with an 88-74 record and a first place finish in the NL Central division. They lost the NL Championship series to the Florida Marlins but they again had a winning season in 2004, with an 89-73 record. However, that record left the Cubs in third place in the NL Central division. The following two years were disasters, with the Cubs finishing in fourth place in 2005 and with a dismal .407 win percentage and a sixth place finish in the NL Central division in 2006.

Baker had a year off from managing in 2007, working as an analyst for ESPN. He returned to the NL Central division in 2008, this time to manage the Cincinnati Reds. The first couple of years were struggles, but the Reds finished in first place in the division in 2010, with a 91-71 record and a .562 win percentage. The 2012 season was an even better year for Baker and the Reds, with the Reds again finishing in first place in the division, and having a 97-65 record with a .599 win percentage.

Baker was fired as manager of the Reds on October 4, 2013. After two years out of major league baseball, he was hired on November 3, 2015, to manage the Nationals in 2016. He proved once again that he knows how to lead a team to the playoffs. The Nationals finished the 2016 season with an eight game lead in the NL East division. They had 95 wins to 67 losses in the regular season. However, they lost the division series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

In 21 years as a major league manager, Baker has had 1,766 wins to 1,571 losses.

Sources for Information
Wikipedia - Dusty Baker
Baseball Reference - Dusty Baker