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Baker, Dusty 1949–

Dusty Baker 1949

Professional baseball manager

Conflicted With Disciplinarian Father

Garnered Baseball Advice From Aaron

Found Fame Before Being Edged Out

Returned to Baseball as Coach and Manager

Sources

Dusty Baker, who directed the San Francisco Giants to 103 victories in his first season as manager, was named Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1993, 1997, and 2001. The prestigious awards were bestowed in recognition of Bakers accomplishments in rebuilding and restoring a floundering Giants franchise, no mean feat for a first-time manager. Baker, who himself played in the major leagues from 1972 until 1986, has usually been perceived as a disciplinarian with an extensive knowledge of baseball and the ability to communicate his knowledge to both players and coaches. In 2003 Baker was also perceived by many as gutsy when he made a move to manage the Chicago Cubs the year after he took the Giants to the World Series.

Life, however, has not always run smoothly for Baker. A top player for the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise that made three trips to the World Series, he was stigmatized by unproven drug abuse allegations that shortened his playing career. After more than a decade in the major leagues, he retired from baseball in 1986, embittered and disappointed by the treatment he had received. When, in 1988, he was offered an opportunity to coach the Giants, he decided to lay the bitterness behind him and begin anew, quietly planning to become a major league manager at some point. Baker told the Los Angeles Times that his experience with the Dodgers marked a real turning point in his personal development. It can either eat you up, or you can get on with your life, he said. It hurt then. It doesnt hurt anymore.

Conflicted With Disciplinarian Father

Baker was born Johnnie B. Baker, Jr., on June 15, 1949, in Riverside, California. The nickname Dusty was earned in infancy, when he showed a penchant for eating dirt from the familys backyard. The oldest of five children in a household where both parents worked, Baker was often called upon to manage his unruly siblings. When things went wrongas they often didBaker would be punished. His father, a veteran of World War II, believed in rigid punishment, including whippings with a switch. For his part, Johnnie B. Baker, Sr., felt that by being strict he might save his son from bad influences in the neighborhood. They say I was quite hard on [Dusty], the elder Baker told the San

At a Glance

Born Johnnie B. Baker, jr., on June 15, 1949, in Riverside, CA; son of Johnnie B. (a defense industry worker) and Christine (a professor) Baker; married Harriet (divorced 1987); married Melissa; children: (from first marriage) Natosha, (from second marriage) Darren. Education: Attended American River College, Sacramento, CA.

Career: Atlanta Braves, outfielder, 1972-75; Los Angeles Dodgers, outfielder, 1976-84; San Francisco Giants, outfielder, 1984-85, first-base coach, 1988-89, hitting coach, 1989-93, manager, 1993-2002; Oakland As, outfielder and designated hitter, 1985-86; Investment broker, Conli, Michaels, Inc., 1987; Chicago Cubs, manager, 2002-.

Selected awards: Named to National League All-Star team, 1981, 1982; named to Silver Slugger team, 1980, 1981; Gold Glove winner, 1981; inducted to Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame; voted a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers all-time team by fans, 1990; manager of the year, Baseball Writers Association of America, 1993; National League Manager of the Year, 1993, 1997, 2001.

Addresses: Office Manager, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison, Chicago, IL 60613.

Jose Mercury News. But a lot of these [neighborhood] kids, if theyre not dead, theyre in jail. Dusty had discipline in his life.

Bakers father encouraged the children to participate in sports and was the neighborhoods Little League coach. Their Little League team featured the two highly-motivated Baker sons and another talented local youngster, Bobby Bonds. In comparison to Bonds, Bakerss talents did not seem particularly outstanding. He had to work harder, but with his fathers prodding, Baker mastered the skills of baseball.

When Baker was a high school junior, his father took a job at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento. The family moved into an all-white neighborhood in Carmichael, where the residents actually voted on whether or not to admit them. Baker and his siblings became the only black students at Del Campo High School. There Baker immediately excelled at football, baseball, and track, but he still faced racism at every turn.

Being the only black dudes in high school the last two years, me and my little brother, my temper came out, he told the Knight Ridder/Tribune Wire Service. Wed play black schools and theyd be on me because I was playing with white guys. Playing the white schools, theyd get on me for being a black dude. I was fighting at the drop of a dime. Bakers sports prowess brought him some popularity at Del Campo High, but he still had few close friends and was painfully aware that some of the white children in his new neighborhood were forbidden to play with him and his siblings.

Bakers parents divorced when he was a senior in high school. He stayed with his mother and planned to attend college on an athletic scholarship. Then, in June of 1967, he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as their 26th pick and offered a contract and a signing bonus. The prospect of ready money, as opposed to a scholarship, was too tempting. Baker signed with the Braves and reported to a minor league team in Austin, Texaswithout telling his father what he had done. When the elder Baker discovered what had happened, he took the Braves to court and tried to have the contract voided. He did not win, but he was able to secure Bakers signing bonus and placed it in a trust fund until Baker turned 21. Father and son did not speak for three years.

They have since reconciled, and Johnnie Baker, Sr., told the San Jose Mercury News that his son has come to see the wisdom of his decision. I saw kids come out [of the minor leagues] just like they went inbroke, he said. Theyd borrow on next years salary. I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. I dont regret it. I guess everything worked out pretty well.

Garnered Baseball Advice From Aaron

Baker began his professional playing career on minor league teams in the deep South. He soon learned that his hair-trigger temper would not serve him well in situations of blatant discrimination. Although legally sanctioned racism, or Jim Crow laws had long ago been repealed, he discovered that he was not able to rent apartments where the rest of his white teammates stayed. Nor was he always able to frequent the bars and restaurants where they ate and drank. Having grown up in the relatively tolerant environment of California, he was stunned by the racism he faced in the South.

Help came in the form of advice from the Braves biggest star, Henry Aaron. Aaron, who faced more than his share of racism as he broke Babe Ruths record for home runs, saw to it that Baker kept his head without sacrificing his pride. At a time when Bakers relationship with his father was strained, Aaron became a valued parental figure. He talked to me all the time about everything, Baker told the San Jose Mercury News. He told me about the Negro League. About how to be a man. About how to play in pain. About how to play the game in your head.

Baker advanced quickly through the minor leagues and was called to Atlanta for two prolonged visits before finally making the club permanently in 1972. He performed well with the Braves, batting .321 in 1972 and .288 with 99 runs batted in during 1973, but he still was not happy in the South. Therefore, Baker was overjoyed when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall of 1975. Playing for a California team meant going home to his family and friends. It would mean even more as he found himself situated on a championship squad.

Found Fame Before Being Edged Out

Bakers years with the Dodgers neatly coincided with that teams surge into multiple playoff and World Series appearances. He appeared in four league championship series1977, 1978, 1981, and 1983and was named National League championship series Most Valuable Player in 1977, after hitting .357 with two home runs and eight RBI, including a grand slam. He went on that same year to hit .292 in the World Series with four runs on seven hits and one home run.

In Los Angeles, Baker came to be known as Dr. Scald for his ability to burn pitchers with clean hits in clutch situations. He was also admired for his defensive play, earning a Gold Glove in 1981. Perhaps most important, in the wake of nagging injuries that never completely sidelined him, Baker began transforming himself from a physical to a mental player. Taking Aarons advice, he played the game in his head and learned tactical skills that would serve him well in his secondary career as coach and manager.

Twice Baker was named to the National League All-Star team, in 1981 and 1982. He batted .316 in the 1981 National League championship series and appeared in all six games as the Dodgers won the World Series that same year. In 1982 he batted .300 for the season and compiled 88 RBI. The next year, however, his stay in Los Angeles began to turn sour.

His batting average dropped 40 points and by the end of the season, rumors of his drug use began circulating. Baker hotly denied the allegations: L.A. is the rumor capital of the world, he told the San Jose Mercury News. All I know is the rumors didnt come out until I refused a trade. Baker has said that he thinks the rumors of drug abuse, which were never proven, substantially shortened his playing career. It affected me, he added. It affected my family, it probably cost me a couple of million dollars. I learned who my friends were. Baker also explained in the Los Angeles Times that he felt he was being edged out of baseball before he was ready to go.

Before the 1984 season commenced, Los Angeles freed Baker from his contract, and he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. He spent one season there and finished his career by playing with the Oakland Athletics for two seasons. Baker retired in 1986. Upon retirement Baker admitted, I was a little disgruntled. I didnt really know if I wanted to stay in baseball. I wasnt sure what I wanted to do. He worked for one year with his brother in an investment brokerage, and he spent time indulging his passions for hunting and fishing. Eventually baseball beckoned again, and Baker put his bitterness aside to return.

Returned to Baseball as Coach and Manager

The first offer came to Baker in 1987, from Al Rosen, the president of the Giants. However, the offer was made at a time when Baker was undergoing a divorce, and he did not follow up on it. Soon thereafter, Baker ran into the owner of the Giants at a lodge in Lake Arrowhead, who urged him to come aboard with San Francisco. This time Baker accepted. He began his second career in 1988, as the first base coach with the Giants. At the time he quietly resolved to become a manager somewhere in the big leagues within five years. Time passed, and he became the hitting coach for the Giants, but the team was thriving under manager Roger Craig.

At the start of the 1990s, turmoil enveloped the Giants franchise. A group of investors tried to purchase the team and move it to St. Petersburg, Florida. Simultaneously, concerned citizens in San Francisco mounted a campaign to keep the team in town under new ownership. The uncertainty affected everyone in the organization, from the front office personnel down to the players. The Giants, who had appeared in the 1989 World Series, finished their 1992 campaign with more losses than wins. Local entrepreneurs bought the franchise and kept it in San Francisco, but manager Craig was fired. Baker was chosen to replace him in December of 1992. Bakers five-year plan to become a manager had been fulfilled.

At the time, the selection of Baker was somewhat controversial. His hands-on experience as a manager consisted of one short season with a newly founded autumn league in Arizona, where his team finished 2528 for fifth place in a six-team division. When asked by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter if he felt he had enough preparation to be a big-league manager, Baker responded: Is there an aptitude test to be a manager? Are there defined qualities you have to have? Or do people have to trust in your ability to lead, direct, and fight for a common causewhich is to win? No mans perfect. No man knows what to do until he gets there. Im not afraid of the unknown. I welcome it.

The 1993 Giants, employing the services of superstar Barry Bonds as a player and his father Bobby Bonds as a coach, won 103 games during the regular season. Ordinarily this would be more than enough for a team to advance to the league championship series. Unfortunately for the Giants, they shared a division with the surging Atlanta Braves, who edged them out of playoff hopes on the last day of the season. It was one of the closest pennant races in recent history.

Bakers disappointment was only mildly soothed by his being chosen as 1993 Manager of the Year, just days after the World Series ended. Although his team failed to make the playoffs, it had undergone a significant transformation, one that was not lost on the voters for Manager of the Year. In effect, Baker had taken the nucleus of a sub-.500 team, with the important addition of Barry Bonds, and had enticed the team to win more victories than any Giants franchise since 1905. The San Francisco front office expressed supreme confidence in the rookie manager, who signed a two-year contract in 1993. As for Baker himself, the Manager of the Year revealed his new plan for the future in the San Jose Mercury News. Im changing my goals, he said. I would like to get into the Hall of Fame as a player [and] manager. This is the first step.

Between 1993 and 2001 Baker was signed on as Giants manager four more times. He also won Manager of the Year twice more. Baker became the first person to be named National League Manager of the Year three times1993, 1997, and 2001made especially impressive because all three times were with the same team, the Giants. Barry Bonds of the Giants told Ebony magazine of Baker, Hey, man, hes the best. When you win Manager of the Year three times theres something special about you. He demands respect and gives it in return. For me, a manager who can get the best out of a bad team is a great manager. Ive seen Dusty do that.

In early 2001 Baker came to the attention of video game makers at EA Sports. They were watching him talking to an umpire, flailing his arms, scowling, bobbing his head, and other things. They thought it would be perfect for their new game Triple Play Baseball. So Baker got into a special suit equipped with light sensors and acted out the part of manager for the game. His fame as Giants manager was growing.

Later in 2001 Baker had a bit of a down turnjust two days before Thanksgiving, Baker was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily the disease was caught early and Baker went through surgery at Stanford Hospital on December 17, 2001, successfully. After the surgery Baker told Knight Ridder/Tribune Wire Service, You see life differently, definitely. Youre appreciative of things. You dont worry so much, and you realize things arent in your control so much. Theyre in the hands of God. Lifes beautiful. It was beautiful before, but its even more beautiful now. I think you dont begin living sometimes until you see death.

When it came time in 2002 for Baker to sign new contracts there were a few issues. Some blamed the problem on Bakers relationship with principal owner Peter Magowan. In the end, though, contract negotiations were dropped and finally it came to the time when other teams could make offers for Baker. Both the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs were known to want to hire him and Baker made it known that he was willing to listen to offers. Kirk Rueter of the Giants said of the loss of Baker, Its kind of a double loss. Last week we dealt with losing the World Series and this week were dealing with losing our manager.

In 2003 Baker made a controversial move to become manager of the Chicago Cubs. Ebony magazine quoted Baker as having said, [When the Cubs job came available], I prayed on it, and the answer I got was to go to Chicago. I always loved the town, and this is where the Lord wanted me to go. I realize the challenge, but this is the best move of my career. I cant give you a concrete reason; I just feel it. Im supposed to be here. And it would seem that in his first year with the Cubs he was already starting to work his magic. The Cubs made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately they lost to the Marlins before the final game. Baker was extremely disappointed, but his spirits were lifted a bit when he was invited to New York to accept the Manager Move of the Year award, an award that was co-sponsored by Major League Baseball and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition. The award celebrated the brave and successful move that Baker made to manage the Chicago Cubs. And as of 2003 the future for Baker managing the Cubs looked bright. Sammy Sosa of the Cubs said of Baker, So many managers have been through Chicago since Ive been here and nobody has done what hes done. Hes the greatest. All the credit he deserves. Youve got to give it to him. Hes awesome. Hes a guy that makes you believe and makes you do the right thing.

Sources

Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 2003, p. 09.

Ebony, July, 1998, p. 84; July, 2001, p. 148; September, 2003, p. 116.

Jet, November, 27, 2000, p. 50; March 12, 2001, p. 50.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Wire Service, March 11, 1993; September 2, 1993; August 5, 2000; October 11, 2000; November 9, 2000; February 26, 2001; July 26, 2001; December 17, 2001; January 5, 2002; February 19, 2002; March 28, 2002; June 7, 2002; June 10, 2002; October 1, 2002; October 9, 2002; October 25, 2002; October 27, 2002; November 6, 2002; November 7, 2002; December 12, 2002; April 29, 2003; July 5, 2003; July 6, 2003; July 11, 2003; July 12, 2003; July 19, 2003; October 6, 2003; October 19, 2003.

Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1993, p. C-2.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 1993, p. D-1; December 17, 1992, p. B-1.

San Jose Mercury News, December 16, 1992, p. E-1; April 4, 1993, p. D-1; October 27, 1993, p. E-1.

Sporting News, October 27, 1997, p. 32; May 10, 1999, p. 18; October 30, 2000, p. 8; May 19, 2003, p. 18.

Sports Illustrated, August 23, 1999, p. 76.

Mark Kram and Catherine V. Donaldson

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Baker, Dusty 1949–

Dusty Baker 1949

Professional baseball manager

Father a Disciplinarian

Tutored by a Superstar

High Times and Hard Times

Five-Year Plan

Sources

Dusty Baker, who directed the San Francisco Giants to 103 victories in his first season as manager, was named 1993 Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The prestigious award was bestowed in recognition of Bakers accomplishments in rebuilding and restoring a floundering Giants franchiseno mean feat for a first-time manager. His recognition was well-deserved.

Baker, who himself played in the major leagues from 1972 until 1986, is perceived as a disciplinarian with an extensive knowledge of baseball and the ability to communicate his knowledge to both players and coaches. He is one of the most popular athletes in the history of Northern California, having spent most of his life in the Golden State. In a Knight-Ridder wire story, columnist Amy Niedzielka commented that Baker helped reverse the Giants fortunes because his personality is like a spiders web, simultaneously soft and sturdy. He puts everyone at ease.

Life has not always run smoothly for Baker, however. A top player for a Los Angeles Dodgers franchise that made three trips to the World Series, he was stigmatized by unproven drug abuse allegations that shortened his playing career. After more than a decade in the major leagues, he retired from baseball in 1986, embittered and disappointed by the treatment he had received.

When offered an opportunity to coach with the Giants in 1988, he decided to lay the bitterness behind him and begin anew, quietly planning to become a major league manager at some point. Baker told the Los Angeles Times that his experience with the Dodgers marked a real turning point in his personal development. It can either eat you up, or you can get on with your life, he said. It hurt then. It doesnt hurt any more. In fact, he added, being given the opportunity to manage a team like the Giants is like getting [an energizing] Vitamin B shot. We know we have a chance to create something special.

Father a Disciplinarian

Baker was born Johnnie B. Baker, Jr. in Riverside, California. The nickname Dusty was earned in infancy, when he showed a penchant for eating dirt from the familys backyard. The oldest of five children in a household where both parents worked, Baker was often called upon to manage his unruly siblings. When things went wrongas they often didDusty would be punished. His father, a

At a Glance

Born Johnnie B. Baker, Jr., June 15, 1949, in Riverside, CA; son of Johnnie B. (a defense industry worker) and Christine (a professor) Baker; divorced, former wifes name Harriet; children: Natosha. Education: Attended American River College, Sacramento, CA.

Professional baseball player, 1967-86; drafted by Atlanta Braves, 1967. Atlanta Braves, outfielder, 1972-75; Los Angeles Dodgers, outfielder, 1976-84; San Francisco Giants, outfielder, 1984-85, first-base coach, 1988-89, hitting coach, 1989-93, manager, 1993; Oakland As, outfielder and designated hitter, 1985-86. Investment broker, Conli, Michaels, Inc., 1987.

Selected Awards: Named to National League All-Star team, 1981, 1982; named to Silver Slugger team, 1980, 1981 ; Cold Glove winner, 1981 ; inducted to Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame; voted a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers all-time team by fans, 1990; manager of the year, Baseball Writers Association of America, 1993.

Addresses: Office San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 94124.

veteran of World War II, believed in rigid punishment when warranted, including whippings with a switch. For his part, Johnnie B. Baker, Sr. felt that by being strict he might save his son from bad influences in the neighborhood. They say I was quite hard on [Dusty], the elder Baker told the San Jose Mercury News. But a lot of these [neighborhood) kids, if theyre not dead, theyre in jail. Dusty had discipline in his life.

Dustys father encouraged the children to participate in sports and was the neighborhoods Little League coach. Their Little League team featured the two highly-motivated Baker sons and another talented local youngster, Bobby Bonds. In comparison to Bonds, Dustys talents did not seem particularly outstanding. He had to work harder, but with his fathers prodding, Dusty mastered the skills of baseball.

When Baker was a high school junior, his father took a job at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento. The family moved into an all-white neighborhood in Carmichael, where the residents actually voted on whether or not to admit them. Baker and his siblings became the only black students at Del Campo High School. There Dusty immediately excelled at football, baseball, and track, but he still faced racism at every turn.

Being the only black dude in high school the last two years, me and my little brother, my temper came out, he told Niedzielka. Wed play black schools and theyd be on me because I was playing with white guys. Playing the white schools, theyd get on me for being a black dude. I was fighting at the drop of a dime. Bakers sports prowess brought him some popularity at Del Campo High, but he still had few close friends and was painfully aware that some of the white children in his new neighborhood were forbidden to play with him and his siblings.

Bakers parents divorced, when he was a senior in high school. He stayed with his mother and planned to attend college on an athletic scholarship. Then in June of 1967, he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as their 26th pick and offered a contract and a signing bonus. The prospect of ready money, as opposed to a scholarship, was too tempting. Baker signed with the Braves and reported to a minor league team in Austin, Texaswithout telling his father what he had done. When the elder Baker discovered what had happened, he took the Braves to court and tried to have the contract voided. He did not win, but he was able to secure Dustys signing bonus and place it in a trust fund until Dusty turned 21. Father and son did not speak for three years.

They have since reconciled, and Johnnie Baker, Sr. told the San Jose Mercury News that his son has come to see the wisdom of his decision. I saw kids come out [of the minor leagues] just like they went inbroke, he said. Theyd borrow on next years salary. I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. I dont regret it. I guess everything worked out pretty well.

Tutored by a Superstar

Dusty Baker began his professional playing career on minor league teams in the Deep South. He soon learned that his hair-trigger temper would not serve him well in situations of blatant discrimination. Although legally sanctioned racism, or Jim Crow laws had long ago been repealed, he discovered that he was not able to rent apartments where the rest of his white teammates stayed. Nor was he always able to frequent the bars and restaurants where they ate and drank. Having grown up in the relatively tolerant environment of California, he was stunned by the racism he faced in the South.

Help came in the form of advice from the Braves biggest star, Henry Aaron. Aaron, who faced more than his share of racism as he broke Babe Ruths record for home runs, saw to it that Baker kept his head without sacrificing his pride. At a time when Bakers relationship with his father was strained, Aaron became a valued parental figure. He talked to me all the time about everything, Baker told the San Jose Mercury News. He told me about the Negro League. About how to be a man. About how to play in pain. About how to play the game in your head.

Baker advanced quickly through the minor leagues and was called to Atlanta for two prolonged visits before finally making the club permanently in 1972. He performed well with the Braves, batting .321 in 1972 and .288 with 99 runs batted in during 1973, but he still was not happy in the South. Therefore, Baker was overjoyed when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the autumn of 1975. Playing for a California team meant going home to his family and friends. It would mean even more as he found himself situated on a championship squad.

High Times and Hard Times

Bakers years with the Dodgers neatly coincided with that teams surge into multiple playoff and World Series appearances. He appeared in four league championship series1977, 1978, 1981, and 1983and was named National League championship series Most Valuable Player in 1977, after hitting .357 with two home runs and eight RBI, including a grand slam. He went on that same year to hit .292 in the World Series with four runs on seven hits, with one home run.

In Los Angeles, Baker came to be known as Dr. Scald for his ability to burn pitchers with clean hits in clutch situations. He was also admired for his defensive play, earning a Gold Glove in 1981. Perhaps most important, in the wake of nagging injuries that never completely sidelined him, Baker began transforming himself from a physical to a mental player. Taking Aarons advice, he played the game in his head and learned tactical skills that would serve him well in his secondary career as coach and manager.

Twice Baker was named to the National League All-Star team, in 1981 and 1982. He batted .316 in the 1981 National League championship series and appeared in all six games as the Dodgers won the World Series that same year. In 1982 he batted .300 for the season and compiled 88 RBI. The next year, however, his stay in Los Angeles began to turn sour.

His batting average dropped 40 points and by the end of the season, rumors of his drug use began circulating. Baker hotly denied the allegations: L.A. is the rumor capital of the world, he told the San Jose Mercury News. All I know is the rumors didnt come out until I refused a trade. Baker has said that he thinks the rumors of drug abuse, which were never proven, substantially shortened his playing career. It affected me, he added. It affected my family, it probably cost me a couple of million dollars. I learned who my friends were. Baker also explained in the Los Angeles Times that he felt he was being edged out of baseball before he was ready to go.

Before the 1984 season commenced, Los Angeles freed Baker from his contract, and he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. He spent one season there and finished his career by playing with the Oakland Athletics for two seasons. Baker retired in 1986. Upon retirement Baker admitted, I was a little disgruntled. I didnt really know if I wanted to stay in baseball. I wasnt sure what I wanted to do. He worked for one year with his brother in an investment brokerage, and he spent time indulging his passions for hunting and fishing. Eventually baseball beckoned again, and Baker put his bitterness aside to return.

Five-Year Plan

The first offer came to Baker in 1987, from Al Rosen, the president of the Giants. However, the offer was made at a time when Baker was undergoing a divorce, and he did not follow up on it. Soon thereafter, Baker ran into the owner of the Giants at a lodge in Lake Arrowhead, who urged him to come aboard with San Francisco. This time Baker accepted. He began his second career in 1988, as the first base coach with the Giants. At the time he quietly resolved to become a manager somewhere in the big leagues within five years. Time passed, and he became the hitting coach for the Giants, but the team was thriving under manager Roger Craig.

At the start of the 1990s, turmoil enveloped the Giants franchise. A group of investors tried to purchase the team and move it to St. Petersburg, Florida. Simultaneously, concerned citizens in San Francisco mounted a campaign to keep the team in town under new ownership. The uncertainty affected everyone in the organization, from the front office personnel down to the players. The Giants, who had appeared in the 1989 World Series, finished their 1992 campaign with more losses than wins. Local entrepreneurs bought the franchise and kept it in San Francisco, but manager Craig was fired. Baker was chosen to replace him in December of 1992. Bakers five-year plan to become manager had been fulfilled.

At the time, the selection of Baker was somewhat controversial. His hands-on experience as a manager consisted of one short season with a newly founded autumn league in Arizona, where his team finished 25-28 for fifth place in a six-team division. When asked by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter if he felt he had enough preparation to be a big-league manager, Baker responded: Is there an aptitude test to be a manager? Are there defined qualities you have to have? Or do people have to trust in your ability to lead, direct, and fight for a common causewhich is to win? No mans perfect. No man knows what to do until he gets there. Im not afraid of the unknown. I welcome it.

The 1993 Giants, employing the services of superstar Barry Bonds as a player and his father Bobby Bonds as a coach, won 103 games during the regular season. Ordinarily this would be more than enough for a team to advance to the league championship series. Unfortunately for the Giants, they shared a division with the surging Atlanta Braves, who edged them out of playoff hopes on the last day of the season. It was one of the closest pennant races in recent history.

Bakers disappointment was only mildly soothed by his choice as 1993 Manager of the Year, just days after the World Series ended. Although his team failed to make the playoffs, it had undergone a significant transformation, one that was not lost on the voters for Manager of the Year. In effect, Baker had taken the nucleus of a sub-.500 team, with the important addition of Barry Bonds, and had enticed the team to win more victories than any Giants franchise since 1905. The San Francisco front office expressed supreme confidence in the rookie manager, who signed a two-year contract in 1993. As for Baker himself, the Manager of the Year revealed his new plan for the future in the San Jose Mercury News. Im changing my goals, he said. I would like to get into the Hall of Fame as a player [and] manager. This is the first step.

Sources

Knight-Ridder wire service, March 11, 1993; September 2, 1993.

Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1993, p. C-2.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 1993, p. D-l; December 17, 1992, p. B-l.

San Jose Mercury News, December 16, 1992, p. E-l; April 4, 1993, p. D-l; October 27, 1993, p. E-l.

Mark Kram

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"Baker, Dusty 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Baker, Dusty 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/baker-dusty-1949

"Baker, Dusty 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/baker-dusty-1949