Dusty Baker‘s reputation for being the longest-serving manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) without a Fall Classic title has finally ended.
CNN reports that Baker, 73, made history on Saturday after becoming the oldest MLB manager to win a World Series when the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. Tony La Russa‘s retirement as the former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, and Chicago White Sox makes Baker the oldest manager in the majors—and the most senior ever to win the World Series.
Baker has been popular in the league for coming within inches of World Series titles, only to lose it all. In 2002, Baker’s San Francisco Giants were up 5-0 and eight outs away from the title at one point in Game 6 before losing to the Los Angeles Angles. Last year, the Astros came close to winning but lost to the Atlanta Braves.
Since Baker’s managerial inception in 1993, he has sought a World Series title and has gotten so close. That is until Saturday, when the Astros won.
“I’m feeling great; these guys are the greatest guys, they always believe,” Baker said. “This is for my mom and my dad, my mom that passed in January, and my brother and all my boys.”
“God, dang it,” Baker continued. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
In the 30 years Baker has worked for the league, he has led five teams to the postseason and won division titles with five different clubs. Baker is the first Black manager to win 2,000 career games and one of only two individuals in MLB history to produce 1,800 hits as a player and 1,800 wins as a manager.
Baker was mindful of the criticism surrounding his MLB accomplishments going into the game on Saturday.
“I mean, I got 2,000 wins and all they talk about is I haven’t won the World Series yet, you know?” he said before the game. “So, yeah, it matters. It matters to the people. It matters to us.”
Now, in the wake of the Astros’ World Series win, Baker is only the third Black manager to win the World Series after Dave Roberts and Cito Gaston.
“My mom, she told me a number of times, to be African-American, you’ve got to be twice as good to achieve the same thing,” he said.
“I heard that over and over.”