Dusty Baker finally gets his first world title

Now and forever, Dusty Baker, the epic storyteller, the famous people he happens to mention, the toothpick biter and the eternal baseball man, will finally be able to boast an illustrious title.

Manager of a World Series champion team.

The man is capable of telling fascinating stories, such as when he had Hank Aaron as his tutor, encounters with Jimi Hendrix, John F. Kennedy Jr. and others. But he was missing a chapter and he wrote it on Saturday night.

After 25 seasons as a manager in the Major Leagues, including a few in which he came close, the 73-year-old strategist reached the pinnacle when his Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the title. title.

When Yordan Alvarez hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning, cameras panned to a beaming Baker raising his arms.

He became the longest-serving manager to win the World Series, his third time as a driver in a Fall Classic. He did it as a player with the Dodgers, consecrating himself in 1981.

He woke up Saturday as the manager with the most wins without a World Series championship. He left his record at 2,094-1,790 with his most memorable win.

“I’ve reached 2,000 wins and the only talk is that I haven’t won the World Series,” Baker said Thursday.

They won’t be able to blame you for that anymore.

He joins Dave Roberts (Dodgers, 2020) and Cito Gaston (Blue Jays, 1992, 1993) as the only black drivers to have won the World Series.

“I don’t think that I’m an African-American manager because I look in the mirror every day and I know who I am,” he said before the game. “Do you understand what I am saying? But I know there is some pressure from people who support me, especially black people. I listen to it every day, so I feel like I was picked for this.”

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He led the Astros to their second World Series title in history and their first since 2017, one tainted by the sign-stealing scandal that made Houston the most hated club in baseball. Baker helped clean up the team’s image and many people reluctantly began to row for the Astros because of the admiration the pilot generates.

Beloved throughout baseball, Baker quickly became a fan favorite in Houston. Many fans showed up Saturday with banners bearing slogans claiming the title for Baker.

Baker is the 12th manager in major league history to reach 2,000 wins and the first black man to do so. Ten of the other 11 drivers with at least 2,000 wins are in the Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochy (2003), who is not yet eligible, is the only exception.

Baker managed San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington before taking the reins in Houston. He is the only driver in major league history to lead five different teams to the postseason.

He had been close in the past. In 2002, his San Francisco Giants — under Barry Bonds — entered Game 6 against the Los Angeles Angels one title victory away. As the road team in the last two games of that series, the Giants blew a five-run lead by losing 6-5 in Game 6. The Angels took the title with a 4-1 win in Game 7.

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