Dusty Baker just solidified his place among the all-time greats of baseball skippers

I confess to be thrilled with the result of the World Series. The Houston Astros rank among my favorite teams in the Major Leagues. Last night conclusively proved once more that they are the best team in baseball, and this time it comes without any hint of illegitimacy.

While the Astros broke the heart of every other baseball fan outside the Lone Star State, I am also genuinely happy for their manager Dusty Baker. Baker has waited very long and worked extremely hard to bring about this moment. While he has managed nine postseason teams before, a World Series title had thus far remained elusive. Until now, he held the unenviable mark for the most wins by a manager who had not won such an honor.

Baker has been a managerial staple of the MLB since he began his tenure with the San Francisco Giants in 1993 — and most baseball fans are at least obliquely familiar with his signature calm, collected, toothpick-chewing style. What many may not know is that this was all preceded by an illustrious 18-year career as a player during which he batted behind Hank Aaron, collected nearly 2,000 base hits (with 242 home runs and 1,013 RBIs), and also supposedly invented the high-five.

It remains to be seen for how much longer we will have the pleasure of watching teams helmed by Dusty Baker in the Major Leagues. His contract is up with the conclusion of this season, and, while the Astros are reportedly interested in re-signing him, it’s easy to imagine that he may wish to retire now that he has finally earned the managerial World Series ring that he has sought for nearly 30 years.

Regardless of what Baker decides to do in the coming seasons, his and his team’s performance this fall mark the crowning achievement for a man who has given much to baseball over the last 54 years. A well-deserved congratulations to him and Houston. If his legacy wasn’t secure before, it most certainly is now. Dusty Baker has solidified his place among the all-time greats of baseball skippers.

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