Dusty Baker, his determined scowl, and his toothpick may finally lay claim to a World Series championship as a manager. Baker has come close with a couple of teams, but his 2013 Cincinnati Reds squad probably will give him the best chance he’s ever had.
The 3-time NL Manager of the Year has a loaded roster of both pitchers and hitters, and after 2012’s disappointing playoff performance, he also has a team full of motivation.
Baker is not completely devoid of championship bling, having won a World Series as a player with the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers, and being a 2-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner with the same team. But as a manager Baker has always been the Bridesmaid, with some teams that seemingly should have been able to win it all.
The Cincinnati Reds have the perfect man to manage their club. He’s from the old school of MLB, and one of the most humble and unassuming men you’ll ever talk to.
As a young boy, I had the pleasure of meeting Baker when he was a member of the Atlanta Braves, as he came to speak at a Boy Scout function organized by my dad. Baker, along with fellow Brave Ralph Garr, spent the evening talking to young scouts about citizenship and making something of their lives no matter what they tried to do. Both men stayed well past their allotted time to talk with us and sign autographs.
Baker is the kind of guy you find it hard not to root for with his grass roots style. Not to mention, he’s widely regarded as the guy who invented the “high-five”.
Sometimes you just get a feeling for a team and for a manager–you get a feeling that they are due. Everyone knew that Bobby Cox was going to eventually win that elusive World Series, as they did with Joe Torre. When a manager does it long enough and well enough, his time will eventually come.
With the planets seemingly aligned, and the deck stacked in the Reds favor, it would seem that Baker’s time has finally come. Now all the Reds have to do is go out and win it.