About two and a half years ago I wrote a blog which was an ode to a manager that had helped bring the first World Series title to the Houston Astros. I’m now sitting at my desk writing another ode to a different Houston Astros World Series winning manager. Without further ado, here’s an ode to the coolest guy in baseball history, Dusty Baker.
Dusty was hired right before the world shut down from Covid-19, and was hired during a time of incredible turmoil in the Houston Astros organization. Dusty was the perfect hire for the situation because he really is the coolest guy in baseball history.
He is cool, calm, and collected nearly all of the time. Most opposing teams and managers either love him or respect him enough to not be a thorn in your side. Dusty was hired to weather the storm in 2020, and buddy, did he ever.
In 2020, Dusty took the struggling Astros as they limped into the playoffs under .500 in the shortened Covid season to the ALCS. Then in 2021, he took the injury riddled Astros to the World Series. Finally, in 2022, Dusty managed the Astros all the way to his first ever World Series title as a manager.
For all the wins, losses, and firings that Dusty endured throughout his many lifetimes of baseball, he finally got to hold up the piece of metal at the end of the season. It was a magical time for Astros fans as they finally secured that elusive second title, and for Dusty it got every single one of the monkeys off his back.
While 2023 didn’t end the way that the Astros or Dusty wanted it to, he still managed to get to the seventh straight ALCS, and fourth straight in his tenure. There were tons of armchair managers online that were at Dusty’s throat throughout the season for lineup and pitching management. Putting all of that aside, Dusty appeared to be loved in the clubhouse, and still got results.
A funny story involving my grandfather and Dusty Baker occurred sometime in the 1990’s if I’m not mistaken. My grandfather told me this story as we were driving to the 2021 World Series game 3 in Atlanta (he’s been a Braves fan since 1956 when he listened to the Braves on a shortwave radio in Alaska where he grew up).
My grandfather helped coach high school teams in the Dallas, Texas area for a long time, and one of the kids that he coached ended up playing in the majors. That guy played on Dusty’s team and near the end of his career he requested to be traded to the Texas Rangers to finish out his career with his hometown team.
Dusty refused to trade him because he was still a good pitcher. My grandfather went to a Dusty Baker autograph signing in the mall somewhere in the country for work and walked straight up to Dusty to tell him how terrible it was that he didn’t trade that player to be close to his family. Dusty perked up and said something along the lines of, “well, he ain’t on your team and I liked when he pitched for my team. I wasn’t trading his ass anywhere.” Dusty has never cared for the armchair managers, not even back then. And to that is an ode to the coolest guy in baseball history, Dusty Baker.
The toothpick, the sweatbands on the forearms, all the cool ass sunglasses that he would wear inside the dugout. Dusty is the coolest guy in baseball history, and I’m just glad he got to manage my favorite baseball team for four seasons.