The Curious Case of Dusty Baker

By:Darrell Owens

It’s October 26, 2002 and Game 6 of the World Series, The San Francisco Giants are only eight outs away from winning the World Series. Russ Ortiz had pitched 7 1/3 shut out innings with a 5-0 lead over the Anaheim Angels. When Giants manager, Dusty Baker came to mound to take Ortiz out of the game in favor of Relief Pitcher Felix Rodriguez, Ortiz had started to tire and it showed with the back to back hits he had given up that inning. Baker’s decision to go to the bullpen and that highly popular “Rally Monkey” spelled doom for Dusty and Giants, as the  Angels would score 6 unanswered runs giving them a 6-5 victory. The next night the Angels would win the series in Game 7 at home 4-1.

Dusty Baker Takes Russ Ortiz out in the bottom of the 7th and the rest is history! From

Since that faithful October night in 2002, Baker has taken 3 different teams to the playoffs. The next year, Baker would lead the Chicago Cubs to the NLCS after the Giants didn’t renew his contract. Unfortunately, more Game 6 misfortune reared it’s ugly head. Chicago was 6 outs away from a long-waited World Series appearance. The Cubs were up 3-0 against the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) in the Top of the 8th inning and , then it happen “The Bartman Play” & the Alex Gonzalez error at shortstop would help lead to 8 unanswered runs in the top of the 8th inning and the Marlins wouldn’t look back as they would go on to win Game 6 and 7 clinching their 2nd World Series berth.

Dusty also made a stop in Cincinnati ,where he got the Reds to the playoffs 3 times in his 6 year tenure from 2007-2013, but never could get the Reds past the first round.

Dusty has the Nationals prime to win another NL East title in 2017!

Now Baker is with his 4th team as a manager, the Washington Nationals. In 2016, in his first season with the Nats, Dusty lead the Nationals to a NL East Division title, but once again Baker’s postseason woes continued with a first round exit to the Dodgers.

As July 30,2017. the Nationals hold a 12.5 game lead in the NL East with 2 months to go. The Nats have some of the best players in baseball. Max Scherzer & Steven Strasburg together have combined for a 22-8 record with & an ERA under 3.00. The duo have been pitching phenomenally. Nationals also had 5 players batting over .300 this year including: Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Lind and Anthony Rendon. With this much talent, Dusty Baker has  his most rounded team he has ever coached to date.

Baker has one of the most impressive resume’s in baseball history…All-Star, World Series Champ (as a Player), 3x NL Manager of The Year and multiple division titles, but the one that has eluded him could mean the most…leading a group men to a World Series championship. Only time will tell if Dusty can exercise his demons.