The Astros have officially hired Dusty Baker, the three-time National League Manager of the Year who has guided four teams to nine postseason berths, seven division titles, an NL pennant, and has won 1,863 regular-season games in 22 seasons as a manager — his last management job came with the Washington Nationals in 2017.
His resume speaks for itself, the dude is an absolute baseball legend. And while I definitely understand the critics and others who are skeptical about bringing in a 70 year old to clean up the mess this off-season sign stealing scandal has left in Houston, I honestly think it’s the perfect hire.
First of all, you’d be hard pressed to find any other manager in the game that is more well-liked, respected and admired by his peers and players throughout the league. With the Astros sure to take massive amount of heat all season from opposing fans and teams, having Baker’s calming presence will not only help to soothe the angry masses, but it help soothe his own players by shielding them from the hate.
Because as much as others may want to attack the Astros all season, how can anyone be mad at Baker? He had nothing to do with the sign stealing scandal. In fact, during the heart of the scandal in 2017, Baker was the manager for the Washington Nationals and they actually beat the Astros took 2 of the 3 games in Minute Maid park that season, trash can knocking and all.
Baker also has withstood his own scrutiny over the years, such as during the 80s when some of his closest friends were implicated in the Pittsburgh drug trials, resulting in mandatory drug tests the rest of his playing career. And more recently in 2002 when he endured the public embarrassment of the IRS coming after him for $4 million in back taxes and penalties. Being able to provide the players with his first-hand experience of his own setbacks, shortcommings and embarrassment and how he was able to respond to it, is invaluable and something no other manager could provide.
Not to mention, with the Stros having such a star studded team, you have to love that Baker has all the experience in the world managing superstars — Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto to name a few.
And while at 70 years old, this will likely be Baker’s last chance to earn a World Series championship, he definitely knows it and is excited for the challenge:
And if Baker is somehow able to lead the Astros to a World Series, it should ensure him a ticket to baseball’s greatest resting place: Baseball’s Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. “That’s what has always brought me back.’’
“It would mean a lot to me and my family to be the first African-American manager in there,’’ Baker recently told USA TODAY. “But what matters to me the most is the championship. That’s what I want. I want to be a World Series champion.
With the Astros currently having the third best odds to win a World Series (+700), only falling behind New York (+340) and LA (+600), you got to like Baker’s chances.