Dusty Baker yesterday became just the 12th big league manager to reach 2000 wins. He is the first black man to do so. He is also the only manager to lead five different franchises to the postseason. Each of the first four (Giants, Cubs, Reds and Nationals) improved significantly upon his arrival. Of the 11 managers with more wins, only Bruce Bochy is not in the Hall of Fame, and there is no doubt he soon will be. The only ding on Baker’s résumé is no World Series ring as a manager. That really should not hold him back when the time comes. He’s also someone who is very popular throughout MLB and has been singled out by numerous players, past and present, as a key mentor in their lives off the field as well.
He should also be remembered as a very good player in his own right, with a career 116 OPS+, a couple Silver Sluggers, and a Gold Glove. He does have a ring as a player—with the 1981 Dodgers. He was also the next batter after Hank Aaron slugged home run #715, breaking Babe Ruth’s record and thus was the first Atlanta Brave to congratulate him.