As he’s done often before, Astros manager Dusty Baker is on the precipice — four games to be exact — of making history. There are likely books that Baker could fill with stories about a whole host of topics — from his relationship with the late Henry Aaron, to managing Barry Bonds to even potentially inventing the high-five and so much more.
He could add another chapter to his storied career when this year’s World Series concludes, as he’d become the second-oldest manager to win a World Series, among other possible superlatives. He also has the most wins (1,987) of any manager without a World Series title.
Baker is in second year in Houston. Brought in to try and give the team a steady managerial presence following the wake of A.J. Hinch’s suspension in the famed cheating scandal, he led them to this juncture last year before losing the ALCS in seven games to the Rays.
His time in Houston has also been historic for other reasons. The Astros won the AL West division title this year, making him the first manager in history to capture division titles with five different teams.
And en route to last year’s ALCS, simply by making the playoffs, he made history as the first manager to lead five teams to the postseason.
The World Series gets underway Tuesday with Framber Valdez on the bump for the Astros and Charlie Morton on the mound for the Braves.
But before it does, here’s everything you need to know about Dusty Baker.
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How old is Dusty Baker?
Baker, born Johnnie B. Baker Jr., is 72, making him the second-oldest active manager in the major leagues behind the White Sox’s Tony LaRussa, who’s 77.
And even though Baker is one of the oldest managers in the bigs, he assures people he’s not some doddering old man, constantly reminding people he’s “a cool 72.”
Don’t just take Baker’s word for it, though.
“He always wanted to have that swag, he always wanted to look good, he wanted his players to look good, too,” former Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper told The Athletic’s Claire Smith. “He’s just cool.”
Has Dusty Baker made the World Series before?
Baker is one of nine managers to win a league pennant in both the American and National League.
But prior to this year, it had been nearly two decades since Baker had been to the World Series as a manager.
He notched his first, and only other pennant and World Series berth 19 years ago in 2002 when he was the manager of the Giants. The Giants eventually lost the series in seven games after having a 3-2 series lead.
The 19-year gap between World Series appearances for a manager is the second longest behind only the Yankees’ Bucky Harris, whose gap between appearances was 22 years after leading the Bronx Bombers to the Fall Classic in both 1922 and 1947.
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Who are the oldest managers to win a World Series?
Now in his 70s, Baker also has the distinction of being the second-oldest manager to lead a team to the World Series. If he wins, he’ll also be the second-oldest manager to ever win the World Series.
Jack McKeon was also 72 when the Marlins won the World Series in 2003, though he was roughly 200 days older than Baker is now when the Marlins won their second World Series title that year.
Baker had already been out of managing for three years when the Astros came knocking. His last gig before Houston was leading the Nationals in 2016 and 2017 to consecutive NL East titles and winning 95 and 97 games, respectively.
When he took over in Houston, he was 71 years, 39 days old, then the third-oldest manager to begin a new stint with a new team. He’s since been passed by Tony La Russa for third on that list, as he assumed the role as manager of the White Sox at 76 years, 179 days old.
This iteration of the World Series also features the oldest matchup between two managers as Baker, 72, goes up against Atlanta’s Brian Snitker, who’s 66.