HOUSTON — Dusty Baker has expressed to many people inside and outside the Houston Astros organization that 2023 will be his final season as manager, sources familiar with the matter said. The athlete During the last week.
Baker, who managed this season on a one-year contract, has expired, He declined to comment when asked The athlete If he told people at the game that this was his last season. Houston’s bid for back-to-back World Series titles ended with an 11-4 Game 7 loss to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series on Monday night.
The 74-year-old Baker, who has managed 26 major league seasons, has a regular season record of 2,183-1,862, along with three pennants and one World Series title. That long-awaited championship came in 2022 with Houston, the team he has managed for the past four years, after he was hired to help stabilize the organization in the wake of a sign-stealing scandal that came to light just weeks after the Astros lost the championship. 2019 Washington Nationals World Series.
She told multiple sources who were not authorized to speak publicly The athlete They believe Baker wants to stay in the game in some capacity. So why doesn’t Baker publicly announce that he’s ready to resign to his permanent spot in the dugout for another role in baseball?
many reasons. First, Baker didn’t want the attention that would come with a farewell tour, as several sources believe. In addition, Baker said The athlete He has been “thinking” several times about retiring, and he still has a chance to change his mind. According to multiple sources, this is the first season that Baker has talked about leaving coaching and taking some time away from the daily game routine.
“When he’s done managing, I know he has a lot of knowledge to offer an organization,” said Melissa, Baker’s wife of nearly 30 years, adding that her husband has not yet made a final decision. “I know he can help build a winner. My husband just wants to win and he is a winner.”
If Baker does retire, he will end his Astros tenure as one of the franchise’s most successful managers. Baker led a star-studded team through turmoil and change, handling hostility as best he could, preaching peace and positivity with a broad smile and soft-spoken charm.
“I told the guys I love them and I appreciate their efforts, I appreciate the way they go about their business,” Baker said when asked in the postgame news conference after Monday’s elimination about his message to this year’s team and his future. “I don’t know, I haven’t had time to evaluate and think about my future because I’m at the bottom, I’m not that kind of guy. I don’t want to steal the spotlight or anything from these guys. You have to savor what we did, think about how we can improve and then I’ll evaluate My situation in my life. And so, we’ll see. I’ll talk to my daughter. I have two grandchildren, … I’ve kind of deceived them in my quest … I have two dogs, hounds, they’re one year old, they won’t even know me when I walk in the house because I’m no longer “Been home since February 10th.”
Baker’s winning percentage of .586 trails only AJ Hinch — the man he replaced — and is the highest of any manager in team history. Baker led the team to four straight ALCS appearances and appeared in two World Series. He and Hinch are the only managers in team history to have won a World Series.
When Houston won the 2021 AL West, Baker became the first manager in major league history to win the division title with five different clubs. He is 34-19 in postseason play with the Astros, which places him fourth on the sport’s all-time list with 57 playoff wins.
But Baker’s tenure witnessed some difficulty. He clashed with former general manager James Click, who was hired by owner Jim Crane about a week after Baker was hired as manager in 2020. Although executives and managers across the sport are privy to the disagreements, Baker and Click’s disagreements became public after the manager used his right to Vetoing Click’s approval. – When trading for Wilson Contreras at the 2022 trade deadline. Crane sided with his manager, demonstrating the divide that had developed between Click and Baker/Crane. Crane “parted ways” with Click after winning the 2022 World Championship and hired Dana Brown to replace him.
Throughout this season, Brown has publicly questioned some of Baker’s lineup decisions, but remains committed to giving his manager autonomy in all matters on the pitch.
Many members of the team’s front office and coaching staff shared skepticism about some of Baker’s decision-making — specifically surrounding the intermittent playing time of standouts Chase McCormick and Yaner Diaz — but Baker remained steadfast in his preference for veteran players.
It’s hard to argue with the results — Houston won the American League West for its sixth straight 162-game season and reached its seventh straight ALCS, leading a furious rally at the end of September.
Many people felt that Baker should be hired as a special assistant to the team — preferably on the West Coast where he resides — or by the commissioner’s office as an ambassador for the game.
“Who connects more groups of people than Dusty?” said one longtime baseball friend, who Baker told of his intention to retire this year. “I mean, he’s able to talk to anyone from all walks of life. He embodies DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).
Baker’s legacy is larger than life. He has been in baseball since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1967. He played until 1986 and worked briefly as a stock broker before returning to the game as the Giants’ base coach in 1988. He played for the late Hank. Aaron beat prostate cancer. His son, Darren, was Baker’s infielder as a 3-year-old, and was forever immortalized during the 2002 World Series when he went to pick up a bat as San Francisco’s JT Snow was trying to score in Game 5. She scooped him into his arms After he touched home plate and sent Darren back to the dugout.
Darren is now 24 years old and is a player in the Washington Nationals system. The Nationals and Astros share a spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, which allowed Dusty a first-hand look at his development and precious times as father and son were roommates each of the past two spring trainings.
Darren pulled out the lineup card before a Grapefruit League game between the two teams, surprising his father when he came out of the dugout. In another battle this spring, Darren got the go-ahead grand slam against his father’s Astros.
After Darren’s season ended in late September, his presence became more visible around the Astros, as he accompanied his father to the team’s final regular-season series at Arizona and throughout the ALCS, perhaps to get one last glimpse of Dusty’s managerial career.
(Top photo by Dusty Baker: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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