HOUSTON – Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is on the cusp of hitting 2,000 career wins as a Major League Baseball manager, and it’s truly a historic accomplishment.
As of the time of this writing, Baker has 1,999 wins, 12th all-time in MLB’s lengthy history, meaning he will be the 12th manager to reach the milestone of 2,000 wins.
But he would also become the first Black manager to reach that milestone. Considering baseball’s color barrier was only broken 75 years ago by Jackie Robinson, and that it was less than 50 years ago, in 1975, when Frank Robinson became MLB’s first Black manager, this truly is an accomplishment.
In essence, there has been such a limited time where Black managers have even existed in Major League Baseball. And now, Baker is on the cusp of a milestone that necessitates great success over a great amount of time.
“I think about the people that made it possible for me to get in this position,” Baker said on Tuesday before the Astros’ game against the Seattle Mariners. “My dad, Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson, Cito Gaston, the minority managers ahead of me.”
Baker certainly has had great success over his career, one that should undoubtedly merit conversation for baseball’s Hall of Fame. He’s a three-time winner of the Manager of the Year award. He’s won division titles with each of the five franchises that he’s managed. He’s reached two World Series. He came into a situation in Houston, with the Astros in the crosshairs of the entire sport, and still led the team to at least the ALCS in each of his two complete seasons in town.
And, as this season progresses, Baker should soon surpass Bruce Bochy’s 2003 wins and Leo Durocher’s 2008 wins to vault into the Top 10 of all time.
Whenever 2,000 does come, that moment will be worth cherishing. And for Astros fans, their time with a pioneer like Dusty Baker will be one to cherish forever too.