With 2,144 wins, Dusty Baker finally gets the world championship party he deserves | World Championship

It turns out that you can get a grin like a Texas highway even with a toothpick doing a somersault in your mouth.

In much of his long and distinguished managerial career, Dusty Baker has been nibbling on mint sticks as the healthiest alternative To chew tobacco, the teams took it past the season, and didn’t win the World Championship. You can scratch the last part now.

Baker has been one of the most popular figures in baseball for decades, which is the main reason why he was hired by the unpopular baseball team. However, it was one of those management professions that was most famous for one achievement that is missing from his resume more than his many accomplishments.

Not anymore. Grinning widely, he restrained the steps of the dugout in Minute Maid Park to join in the awe on the field after the Houston Astros snatched a 4-2 win in the world championship The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in Game Six on Saturday.

The retirement of Tony La Russa means that 73-year-old Baker is the oldest coach in the majors – and the oldest ever to win the title. World Championship. This was his twelfth post-season trip as manager and seventh in a row (with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012-13, the Washington Nationals in 2016-2017 and the Astros in 2020-22).

However, he is seen as a tragic hero: a victim of misfortune and bad choices, a nice guy who didn’t quite finish first place. This narrative dates back 20 yearswhen the San Francisco Giants Baker had eight of their first World Championship titles since their move to the Bay Area.

Dominant bowler Ross Ortiz pulled in the seventh inning with a 5-0 lead, and the Giants faltered and failed, losing 6-5 to the Anaheim Angels, who then won at Game Seven to claim the title. Fairly or not — Ortiz had just dropped back-to-back singles and threw 98 throws — Becker was blamed and his contract was not renewed.

It didn’t help that when Ortiz came out of the hill, Baker handed him the ball as a souvenir – a moment of kindness that later turned into a supposed act of disrespect that was fuel for the Anaheim fire, although BC Sports pointed out In 2020, no one would have thought that at the time.

Baker headed to the Chicago Cubs, who broke up on the verge of beating the Florida Marlins for the 2003 National League Championship when a fan named Steve Bartman interfered with a possible poaching. Becker showed special empathy sympathy For Bartman, who went into hiding and sought police protection.

Last year, the Astros reached the World Championships and had a stronger looking roster, but they deservedly defeated at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, who took a 4-2 victory in the series with a modest 7-0 victory in Houston.

So there was a measure of dramatic subtlety, and a ridiculous closing of the circuit, in the way Saturday’s game was decided: a second decision that could be guessed by the other coach. With the visitors leading 1-0 in the sixth inning, Philadelphia’s Rob Thompson cleared ARZ Zach Wheeler, who gave up just three hits and threw 70 layups.

Brawling Houston player Jordan Alvarez immediately launched his first home race in 42 bats from Jose Alvarado, a 450-foot three-stroke tyrannosaurus. The Astros added another run, knowing a boisterous but edgy crowd suddenly breathed in ecstasy and Phelez’s soul was shattered.

Even Phillies star batsman Kyle Schwarber, who gave them a home escape advantage from excellent primary bowler Framber Valdez, was bemused enough to try a two-stroke with no one at base. So the Astros became the first team to clinch at home since the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the star-studded sports city of Philadelphia lost two titles in one evening, the result following the Philadelphia Union. Lost the MLS Cup Final on penalties.

A survivor of prostate cancer and a small stroke in 2012, California-born Baker made three world championship appearances as a player, winning with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. As a defensive player, he played 2,039 games over 19 games. Years, he debuted with Atlanta in 1968. The Astros is his fifth team in a management adventure that started with the Giants in 1993.

That result gives him 51 wins after the season, which puts him fourth all-time behind Joe Tory, Bobby Cox, and La Rosa. He’s the third African-American coach to win the World Championship, after Dave Roberts in 2020 and Seto Gaston in 1992-93 – and that’s at the conclusion with no black players in the United States on either team. For the first time since 1950. “There was pressure from a lot of people… pulling on me,” Becker reporters“Especially people of color. And that part I feel. I hear it every day.”

After losing at a Phillies party to Joe Girardi, Baker was hired by Houston in January 2020 to replace AJ Hinch. Hinch was ousted amid the sign-stealing scandal that erupted in late 2019, hIt also stained their 2017 world championship win And their continued superiority means as much contempt and suspicion as respect and admiration outside this corner of Texas.

Becker thought his managerial days were over before the Astros got in touch. “I haven’t even had a phone call for two years” after Washington kicked him out, he told The New York Times in the year 2020.

As Becker admitted, he inherited a very good team. The Astros who lost Carlos Correa to free agency this year replaced him with Jeremy Peña, an abnormally composed rookie who was named World Player of the Year. Alvarez and Kyle Tucker thrived. And Justin Verlander, who will turn 40 in February and missed all of 2021 after Tommy John’s surgery, finally won when it mattered most, ending a bizarre streak of World Championship tampering with a win in Game Five.

Years of low-budget cuts — three seasons with no fewer than 106 losses from 2011-2013 — gave Houston the financial space and high draft options to pave the way for success. Then they maintained it through systematic exploration, development and technology savvy. And by involving Baker, which has proven to be a field milestone as well as a clever PR move for a tarnished brand. It inspires individuals with carefully designed encouragement, as generous and wise as the favorite teacher you remember from school.

With 2,093 wins in the regular season, he’s not lacking in technical know-how, even if — as likely to talk about fate and purpose as faucet statistics — it sounds like a throwback to an era when baseball was subject to analytics and trusted cold data more than hot instincts. “I feel like I’ve been chosen for this,” he said Saturday night.

It would be an exaggeration, however, to assert that Baker restored Houston’s reputation: to fans of the opposition, the Astros’ dislike appears to be a product without an expiration date. It may be because some players have not noticeably regretted the cheating scheme. Another factor is that their continued prosperity did not give the baseball world much room for some conscious separation from Jose Altov and his associates.

With the club in their fourth world championship in six seasons after six consecutive MLS appearances, this Astros feel close to vintage 2017 flavored with vinegar, even though only five players remain from that team. If the New York Yankees, for example, were in the middle of such a great race, the word “dynasty” would have a more liberal airing.

“I’m sick of hearing it. He doesn’t do this, he doesn’t do that.” All I’ve heard is about what I can’t do, Baker told Fox. Broadcasting after the match. “But my mom and dad taught me to persevere. You have to persevere, you must believe in yourself.”

Now he is out of contract. What’s next, an interviewer wondered on a hastily assembled floor platform after the smoke of the fireworks dissipated and the shimmering confetti flew like a fleet of fireflies over the diamonds. “Party, party!” Cheer up Baker. No one in Houston had any intention of questioning that call.