Dusty Baker’s Illustrious Career And the Burden of Integrity

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New Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker smiles during a baseball press conference at Minute Maid Park, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

( ENSPIRE Feature ) Dusty Baker Leads the Houston Astros Through Jeers and Scrutiny to Another World Series

ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns

Johnnie B. Baker Jr, more commonly known as Dusty Baker, is a baseball legend, both as a player and as a current-day manager. As a player, he had a long and successful career spanning 19 years in which he reached the World Series 3 times, winning it once. Since then, he has managed several different teams in the MLB, becoming the first manager to reach the playoffs and win a division title with five other teams; unfortunately, a World Series win as a manager still eludes him. He seeks to change that with the Astros’ current appearance in the World Series. 

The journey to the current World Series was not an easy one, and in many ways, it exemplifies what has made him special as both a player and a manager, that being a certain grit and integrity. In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Houston Astros were accused and found guilty of sign stealing, essentially voiding their 2017 World Series victory and marring their reputation in the league. With many of the players and management involved, a new face had to be brought in to right the ship, and Dusty Baker was chosen to do so in 2020. Despite the continued vocal displeasure of baseball fans, Baker has managed to shrug them off and focus on the game, guiding the Astros back to the World Series this year. 

Dusty Baker As A Player With the Dodgers, Photo Credit Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

While all of these accomplishments already make Dusty Baker an extraordinary individual, his composure throughout much of his career is one area where he stands above many others. Despite unsubstantiated rumors of drug use early in his career, he handled it calmly, showing he was a clean and respectable player while also not bowing down to character assassination. This integrity and composure are best seen now. After taking a new manager job with the Astros after their cheating scandal a few years back, he has again turned the team into a World Series contender without any foul play. Despite fans of other teams booing and throwing whatever they can at Astro players due to their cheating scandal, something Dusty Baker was not a part of, he has managed to guide his team into new and fair success calmly. 

Even now, many fans’ heads are in a tizzy as the Astros return to the World Series; indeed, they must still be cheating, they think to themselves, and then they let new accusations fly towards Dusty Baker despite his lack of any association with the previous cheating scandal. However, Baker doesn’t let the boos of a few fans or unsubstantiated clickbait articles affect his demeanor; he is as cool as ever, answering questions with the media when he needs to, tuning out the jeers, and simply doing his best job as the manager to guide his team to victory. 

Dusty Baker As the Astros Manager, Picture Credit: Ray Carlin, Associated Press

With plenty of records under his belt as a player and almost 2,000 wins as a manager, Dusty Baker is clearly one of the all-time greats when it comes to baseball. Assuming he manages the Astros for another season, he’s likely to surpass that 2,000 mark and even join the group of the top 10 managers with the most wins. Years from now, though, when we look back upon Dusty Baker’s career, we shouldn’t just see the astounding numbers he put up, but also the way he handled scandal and rough crowds. Nevertheless, he clearly has exhibited a positive influence on the players, organizations, and leagues. Therefore, we should look to him as an example of how to behave calmly and gracefully even when the world’s ire is unjustly set against us.

You can follow Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros on Twitter for more information on their World Series run.

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