Baker named MOY by Baseball America
After leading the Astros to 95 regular-season wins and an American League pennant, Dusty Baker was named 2021 Manager of the Year by Baseball America on Tuesday.
Baker, who finished third in AL Manager of the Year voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, became the first skipper in Major League history to win division titles with five different clubs when the Astros won the AL West. He’s the ninth manager in history to win pennants in both the AL and NL.
Baker is the third Astros manager to win the Baseball America award, joining Larry Dierker (1998) and A.J. Hinch (2017). Baker also won it with the Giants in 2000. Baker, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Astros last month, led the team to the World Series before falling to the Braves in six games.
When Houston was riddled with injuries — including losing ace Justin Verlander for the entire season following Tommy John surgery and third baseman Alex Bregman for 59 games with a strained left quadriceps — Baker and the Astros held steady to finish with the second-best record in the AL, behind the 100-win Rays.
The Astros have made the playoffs in both of Baker’s seasons as manager, making it as far as the AL Championship Series in 2020 before losing to the Rays. Though the Astros had a losing record in 2020 (29–31), they were able to make the postseason due to the expanded playoff picture after the pandemic-shortened season.
Baker was named the NL Manager of the Year by the BBWAA with the Giants in 1993, 1997 and 2000. He finished the 2021 season with 1,987 career wins, which ranks 12th-most all time; 10 of the 11 managers ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame. The only one that is not is Bruce Bochy, who is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame.
Baker will enter the 2022 season within striking distance of surpassing Bochy (2,003), Leo Durocher (2,008) and Walter Alston (2,040) on the all-time wins list. Baker played for the Dodgers in 1976, which was Alston’s final season as a manager.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Dusty Baker missed out on winning a drought-busting World Series title as well as the 2021 season’s American League Manager of the Year, which is awarded by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
So, the Manager of the Year for Major League Baseball is a worthy consolation for the Houston Astros’ skipper.Baseball America, the publication behind the prestigious award, recognized the 72-year-old who became the third manager in the club’s history to get the honor. Larry Dierker in 1998 and AJ Hinch in 2017 were the other Astros dugout leaders to win.
While Baker’s achievements in 2021 saw him lead the Astros to a third AL pennant in five years, Baseball America singled out the legendary manager’s role in stabilizing a club that had been rocked with a reputation-shattering sign stealing scandal.
“Leading the sport’s most loathed team requires a remarkable touch. Baker possesses it,” wrote Houston Chronicle’s Astros beat writer, Chandler Rome, who penned the award announcement for Baseball America.
Rome continued, “He injected respectability into a franchise that squandered it in scandal. Baker walked into a wonderful situation on the field. His most impressive work arrived off of it.”
The Houston Astros are bringing back manager Dusty Baker on a one-year deal, the team announced Friday.
Baker, 72, led the Astros to the World Series in 2021 after taking over the team before the 2020 season.
“He’s done a great job this last year,” owner Jim Crane said. “Great in the locker room, great with the fans, great with the media. We’re very, very excited to have him back.”
Baker has taken five different teams to the postseason and came within two victories of winning his first World Series as a manager this year. He ranks 12th in major league history with 1,987 career wins and could move up to ninth with 54 victories in 2022, passing Bruce Bochy (2,003), Leo Durocher (2,008) and Walter Alston (2,040).
“Looking forward to being part of this organization and this city,” Baker said. “I have some tremendous ties here and have some unfinished business to take care of. But we’re close. We’re getting better and better every year.”
Asked if he was excited to return, Baker responded, “Like my son asks me all the time, ‘Dad, are you excited?’ Yeah, but I don’t jump up and down and show my excitement. I feel my excitement on the inside.”
Baker led the Astros to the American League Championship Series in 2020 before winning the AL West in 2021. Houston beat the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS and the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS before losing to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.
He took over as a steady hand after the Astros fired AJ Hinch because of the team’s sign-stealing scandal that rocked baseball in 2019. Baker said he believes the team has moved past those dark days.
“I talked to a lot of players,” Baker said. “Some guys are interested in coming here that might not have been interested in coming here before, so I think our future is very bright.”
The Astros indicated that they may give a qualifying offer to pitcher Justin Verlander, who missed the season after Tommy John surgery. And they are monitoring right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. as he continues to rest after experiencing forearm soreness during the postseason.
As for free-agent star Carlos Correa, the team plans to talk with him again after the sides weren’t able to come to a long-term agreement before the 2021 season.
“I guess you’re looking for a [contract] number,” Crane said with a smile when asked what those conversations might look like. “We kind of know where he’s looking. We’re going to sit down and put our best foot forward, something that fits into our formula and hopefully that fits into his formula.”
|Houston Astros – No. 12|
|Outfielder / Manager|
|Born: June 15, 1949
|September 7, 1968, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1986, for the Oakland Athletics|
|Runs batted in||1,013|
|Career highlights and awards|
Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker Jr.[a] (born June 15, 1949) is an American baseball manager and former outfielder who is the manager of Houston Astros in Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for 19 seasons, most notably with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his Dodgers tenure, he was a two-time All-Star, won two Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award, and became the first NLCS MVP, which he received during the 1977 National League Championship Series. He also made three World Series appearances, winning one in 1981.
After retiring as a player, Baker served as the manager of the San Francisco Giants from 1993 to 2002, the Chicago Cubs from 2003 to 2006, the Cincinnati Reds from 2008 to 2013, and Washington Nationals from 2016 to 2017. He has served as the manager of the Astros since 2020. Baker is the first MLB manager to reach the playoffs and win a division title with five different teams, having accomplished both feats with each team he managed. He led the Giants to the 2002 World Series and the Astros to the 2021 World Series, making him the ninth manager to win pennants in both the American and National Leagues. At age 72, he is the second-oldest manager to appear in a World Series.