In light of Dusty Baker becoming manager of the Washington Nationals a job he has been interested in for some time (https://smallthoughtsinasportsworld.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/dusty-baker-interested-in-washington-nationals-managers-job/) we are going to start Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday by spotlight …Dusty Baker.
Before becoming a big league manager, Dusty Baker was a successful major league player.
Baker began his major league baseball career as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves in 1968. As a Brave, Baker earned a spot as a footnote in history. On April 8, 1974, he was on deck when Hank Aaron hit home run 715 to pass Babe Ruth in career home runs.
A few of Baker’s accomplishments as a player include playing for the National League All-Star team in 1981 and 1982, winning three League Championship series in 1977, 1978, and 1981. Baker ultimately won a World Series title in 1981 with the Dodgers. (However, Baker played poorly during the series batting .167 with an OBP of .192.)
After spending eight full seasons with the Braves and another eight with the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as short tenures with both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, Baker finished his career as a player with a .278 batting average, 242 home runs, and 1,013 runs batted in. Baker played his final season in 1986.
It was the last day of the regular season, and Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Baker had just gone deep off the Astros’ J. R. Richard. It was Baker’s 30th home run, making the Dodgers the first team in history to have four sluggers – Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith – with at least 30 homers each. It was a wild, triumphant moment and a good omen as the Dodgers headed to the playoffs. Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back”, says Baker, now 62 and managing the Reds. “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do.
Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday spotlights…Dusty Baker.
|September 7, 1968, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1986, for the Oakland Athletics|
(through 2013 season)
|Runs batted in||1,013|