Over the course of his 22-year managerial career, Dusty Baker has written lineup cards for 1,556 games, made nine playoff berths and won a pennant.
But never in his career has he managed an American League team. Yet when the All-Star Game comes around in July, it’ll be Baker sitting in the AL dugout managing a roster of the Junior Circuit’s best.
Every year, the skipper of each of the pennant-winning teams from the previous season is given the opportunity to manage their respective league’s All-Star team. After the Houston Astros fired incumbent manager A.J. Hinch for his lack of action taken to prevent their sign-stealing scandal, Baker was hired to help guide the team through what figures to be a highly scrutinized 2020 season.
MLB announced Thursday that Baker would be allowed to assume Hinch’s role, making him the AL All-Star Team manager despite being out of the game for two years. Interestingly enough, however, he’ll be facing off against the man who replaced him at his previous job: Davey Martinez.
The Nationals decided not to re-sign Baker after his contract was up following the 2017 season. Although Baker guided them to back-to-back NL East crowns, Washington failed to advance past the NLDS both years. Instead, the Nationals hired then-Chicago Cubs bench coach Martinez, who’d be taking over as manager for the first time in his career.
Martinez and the Nationals missed the playoffs in 2018, but climbed out of the depths of a 19-31 start to the 2019 season before winning D.C.’s first World Series since 1933. They beat the Astros in seven games despite entering the series as the biggest World Series underdogs since the 2007 Colorado Rockies.
This will be the second time Baker is managing an All-Star team, having led the NL squad in 2003 after losing in the World Series with the San Francisco Giants a year prior. Baker was fired that offseason before being hired by the Cubs, so this will be the second All-Star Game that he’ll be attending as a first-year member of his organization.
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