There is nothing mysterious about Dusty Baker or his legacy. He’s a man of good humor and charm and a successful manager. A good manager.
Yes, we can absolutely sit down and have a lengthy discussion about his in-game tactics, but his track record is undeniable. Wherever he’s managed, he’s been successful. In 22 years as a major league manager, he has a win-loss of 1863-1636 (.532).
By comparison, Bruce Bochy will walk into the Hall of Fame with a sub-.500 record and just about 100 more career wins despite managing three more seasons than Baker. Yeah, there are also the 4 pennants to Dusty’s 1 and 3 world championships to Dusty’s 0, but let’s all accept that baseball is a difficult sport, he didn’t have the pitching staff with the Giants that Bruce Bochy did, his other teams were the still-cursed Cubs, the Reds who sort of fell apart there in the end, and then the chronically what the hell is going on over there Washington Nationals.
Let’s also not get caught up in comparisons, particularly where Dusty Baker is concerned. You can feel his energy jumping off the screen during this 22-minute interview with Renel.
Does he make teams better? I’d say so. He also feels like both a “throwback” manager and timeless simultaneously. He speaks with such a great rhythm and his memory seems almost preternatural. It’s a shame he’s not managing a team these days and there’s not an obvious reason behind it. I don’t buy the idea that he’s too rigid to adapt to Wall Street front offices.
But back to the interview.
They cover what it was like being in the on deck circle for Hank Aaron’s record-setting home run, managing Barry Bonds, and even getting in a very slight dig at Tommy Lasorda. There’s also a fun anecdote about Darren Baker and the World Series near-collision at home plate.
It’s everything you’d expect from Renel interviewing Dusty Baker. I’m a sucker for this series.