Opinion: He led 4 teams to the MLB playoffs.The fifth time is a charm

Editor’s Note: Terence Moore is a national sports columnist and commentator in Atlanta. He is a CNN sports writer and a visiting professor of journalism at Miami University in Ohio.follow him on twitter @TMooresports and subscribe to his YouTube channel. The views expressed in this review are his own. Read more about CNN’s opinion.


Before the 2022 World Series, I texted someone I’d been a sports reporter for 45 years, first as an MLB player, then as a coach and manager. Over the years, the relationship has grown into a friendship.

My text was: “Go Astros! I’m not going to the World Series in person, but I’m cheering for Dusty Baker and all the other right-minded people mentally and spiritually.”

Terence Moore

Reply? “Thank you, brother. Dusty.”

hmm thanks you dusty. You’re an icon with a toothpick in your mouth all the time, wristbands on your arms, and your breath is charismatic.

With a 4-1 win by the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Saturday night, you ended the World Series with a Game 6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, and a tribute to those who have spent years (and year after year) Those who faced adversity along the way show that the answer is persistence.

You’ve proven that a team can win under a leader with a positive attitude and a great sense of humor – maybe with a great bullpen, great defense and a slugger like Jordan Alvarez With the help of , hit the ball into the system on the other side of the sun.

In fact, Alvarez’s three-run homer in the sixth inning moved just 450 feet over the massive structure known as the “Hitter’s Eye” behind the midfield fence. That pushed the Astros from a 1-0 deficit to a 3-1 lead, securing their first world title in Baker’s 25th season as a major league manager.

No manager in baseball history has won as many career regular-season games (2,093) as the 73-year-old perpetual optimist, but until Saturday’s victory, Baker had never won a World Series ring.

He is the only manager to lead five different teams to the playoffs after winning the division title: the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Astros. Most Baker-led teams ended the playoffs in disaster. The worst came in 2002, when Baker’s Giants went 5-0 to the Anaheim Angels in Game 6 of their best-of-seven World Series, but somehow the Giants failed to win the title. .

But this time, fans were still screaming with joy as Baker stood on the stage with the rest of the Astros and someone asked Baker over the PA system if the whole thing hit him.

“Oh, that hit me hard,” said the oldest manager ever to win a World Series, with a contagious smile on his face. “When (Alvarez) hit that ball over the moon, it hit me. That’s when it hit me.”

Baker, a devout Christian, must know that the Bible is full of verses exhorting patience. When he signed his first major league contract in 1967 to play outfield for the Atlanta Braves, he was unofficially adopted by future baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Among other things, Allen London urged Baker to go to church regularly, eat well, and never do anything that would embarrass himself as a high-profile black man. Baker told these stories in the foreword to my book, published earlier this year, titled “The Real Hank Aaron: An Intimate Look at the Life and Legacy of the Home Run King.”

The late Aaron would be proud of Baker, as would his late parents, Johnny Baker Sr. and Kristen Baker.

“My mom and dad taught me to persevere and you have to believe in yourself,” Baker told Fox Sports after the game.

In 2017, the Astros won their only other world championship — an achievement marred by a hacking scandal. Two years later, MLB officials fined the team $5 million and stripped them of their draft picks. The Astros tried to clean up their front office and clubhouse after the fact. As part of that effort, they hired Baker, who took the Astros from his first season to the American League Championship Series, to a second-place finish in last year’s World Series, to this one: an uncontaminated ring.

Thinking of his pre-World Series supporters (including a sports reporter friend) Baker said, “Everywhere I go there are people of color and people of color. Hi dude. We’re all family. .”

Yes, we are.

Just texted Baker: “Congratulations! Finally!”

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