After the Houston Astros defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-0 at Minute Maid Park in Texas on Tuesday night, Dusty Baker became the first Black manager in Major League Baseball history to win 2,000 games.
Baker is the 12th manager to win 2,000 games in his career. Ten of the previous 11 players to achieve the feat have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochy, the other, isn’t yet eligible.
“It feels great whenever you reach a goal,” Baker said, sitting next to a bottle of champagne in his postgame news conference. “I didn’t really have this goal until, I don’t know, four or five years ago, when I realized I had a chance.”
Baker managed the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros for 25 years.
He is the first manager in Major League Baseball history to lead five separate teams to the playoffs and win division titles with each of them. His clubs have made the playoffs 11 times, and he’s managed in the World Series twice (2002 with the Giants and 2021 with the Astros).
Baker’s first victory came on April 6, 1993, when the Giants defeated the Cardinals in St. Louis. All five of the clubs he’s coached have made the playoffs.
“I think about Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson, who helped me a lot, Bill Walsh, all the general managers and owners I’ve had, whether they fired me eventually or not,” Baker said.
“It just sort of added to my perseverance and determination and faith. I’ve also got to thank my detractors for giving me the motivation to go on because there’s a lot of people that doubted me in the beginning when I first got the job with no experience, a lot of them that doubted me even though I was winning.”
Baker was a successful player before becoming a manager. He was a World Series champion, an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger winner, the NLCS MVP, and a Gold Glove winner.
He is one of just two players in MLB history to hit 1,800 home runs and win 1,800 games as a manager. The other is Joe Torre.
On the same night, Baker’s son, Darren, drove in the winning run for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in a 3-2 victory over the Bowling Green Hot Rods with a walk-off sacrifice fly (when a player hits a ball high into the air to the outfield or foul territory, allowing a runner to score).
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