“It feels good every time you hit a goal,” Baker said, sitting in his post-match press conference next to a bottle of champagne, “I didn’t really have that goal until at, I don’t know, four or five years ago, when I realized I had a chance.”
Baker’s managerial career spanned 25 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Astros.
He is the only manager in MLB history to lead five different teams to the playoffs and win division titles with five different clubs. His teams have reached the playoffs 11 times, and he has made it through the World Series twice (2002 with the Giants and 2021 with the Astros).
Baker’s first victory dates back to April 6, 1993, when the Giants won in St. Louis against the Cardinals. All five teams he managed qualified for the playoffs.
“I think of Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson, who helped me a lot, Bill Walsh, all the general managers and owners that I had, whether they finally fired me or not,” Baker said. .
“It kind of added to my perseverance, determination and faith. I also have to thank my detractors for giving me the motivation to keep going because there are a lot of people who doubted me at the beginning when I got the job with no experience, a lot of them doubted me even if I won.”
Before coaching, Baker was a successful player. He was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger winner, NLCS MVP and World Series champion.
He is one of only two individuals in MLB history to produce 1,800 hits as a player and 1,800 wins as a manager. Joe Torre is the other.
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