Respected, veteran leader has more wins than any active manager; Three-time Manager of the Year Award-winner
HOUSTON– The Houston Astros have hired Dusty Baker as the club’s new manager, Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane announced Wednesday. He becomes the 19th manager in franchise history.
Baker joins the Astros as one of the most successful managers in Major League history. His 1,863 career wins are tops among active managers and rank 15th all-time. In his 22 seasons as a manager, Baker has also developed a reputation as one of the most respected managers among players, his peers and members of the media.
“Throughout his successful career, Dusty has embodied the qualities that we were looking for in a manager,” Crane said. “He’s a winner, and more importantly, a strong leader who has earned the respect of not only his players, but of virtually everyone that he has touched in baseball. We’re extremely excited to name Dusty as the new leader of our ballclub.”
“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity,” Baker stated. “This is a great ballclub with outstanding players that know how to win. I applaud Jim Crane for the leadership he has shown in recent weeks and look forward to working with him and the players to bring a championship to the City of Houston.”
AT THE HELM
Baker’s resume as a manager includes eight postseason appearances and a National League Pennant as skipper of the Giants in 2002. That season, San Francisco fell just one win shy of capturing a World Series championship. In recognition of his success, Baker has been named Manager of the Year three times in his illustrious career. He also holds the distinction of leading four different clubs to the postseason, which makes him one of just three managers in MLB history to accomplish this. Additionally, his clubs have finished first or second 14 times in his 22 seasons as a manager, reaching 90 or more victories on 10 occasions.
Baker’s career as a manager began in grand fashion in 1993, as he led the San Francisco Giants, who were 77-85 in 1992, to a 103-59 record, earning him his first NL Manager of the Year award. In 10 seasons (1993-2002) in San Francisco, he would ultimately lead the Giants to three postseason appearances (1997, 2000, 2002), capturing the NL Pennant in 2002. His 840 wins as Giants skipper rank second all-time in that storied franchise’s history.
Following his stint with the Giants, Baker served as Cubs manager for four seasons (2003-06), where he enjoyed early success as well. Despite inheriting a club that had finished with a 67-95 record the previous season, Baker guided the Cubs to the NL Central Division title in 2003 with an 88-74 mark. That club would ultimately fall just one win shy of reaching the World Series, falling to the Marlins in the NLCS in seven games. His 2003-04 Cubs teams were the first to post back-to-back winning records in Chicago since 1971-72.
Baker’s next stop would be in Cincinnati where he would also enjoy success, leading the Reds to two NL Central Division titles and a Wild Card berth in five seasons (2008-12). Most recently, Baker was manager of the Washington Nationals for two seasons (2016-17), a club that he led to back-to-back NL East titles, winning 95 and 97 games, respectively.
AS A PLAYER
Prior to success as a manager, Baker enjoyed an outstanding, 19-year playing career, during which he was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger winner and World Series champion. Highlights in his playing career include two 30-homer seasons and NLCS MVP honors in 1977 while with the Dodgers. In a combined 2,039 Major League games with the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and A’s, Baker tallied 242 home runs and 1,013 RBI. He is one of just two in MLB history to reach both 1,800 hits as a player and 1,800 wins as a manager.
Born Johnnie B. Baker on June 15, 1949 in Riverdale, CA…wife’s name: Melissa….speaks Spanish…is a prostate cancer survivor…is currently in four Halls of Fame: California Black Sports Hall of Fame (1997); Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame (2013); Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (2015); Riverside Sports Hall of Fame (2016)…voted by Dodgers fans to the Dodgers All-Time Team in 1990…voted manager of the Giants All-Time team in 1999…served in the United States Marine Corp Reserve from 1969-75.