Dusty Baker put down his pencil for the last time as he announced his retirement.
Baker’s Houston Astros lost the American League Championship Series in seven games to the AL West rival and eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers. It was the franchise’s seventh straight LCS, tying an MLB record set by the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.
Houston won the World Series last year, giving Baker his coveted first title as a manager. (He won as a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981.) He signed a one-year deal before this season began.
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Still, the 74-year-old hinted that he took some flak from people because the team hasn’t had the same success it’s had in recent seasons (although it was one game away from a third straight Fall Classic).
Baker said on “The Steam Room” with Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley that Astros fans were “broken” and that prompted his retirement.
“We’ve had a lot of success here, Ernie and Charles, and then the last couple of months here haven’t been very pleasant because we haven’t been ten games ahead,” Baker said. he said on the podcast. “You call people. They think you have to win it every year by running, and you don’t.”
Baker said the scrutiny that bothered him, however, wasn’t necessarily from credentialed media outlets or baseball writers.
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“Every year is different. There was a whole range of criticism from 30-year-olds and bloggers and tweeters that I don’t Thisand i don’t know that, and I said to my wife, ‘You know, I’m kind of tired of it and tired of the control, and if I could just go make it and show up at, say, 6:30 for a 7:00 game and leave in the 30 minutes after the game, don’t do it (pre- and post-match interviews), I could do it for another four or five years.’ You know what I mean? After a while, you just get tired of answering questions,” he said.
The Astros were the fifth and final organization Baker managed for 26 seasons, as he also spent time with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.
Baker took over for the Astros shortly before the start of the 2020 season after the organization fired AJ Hinch during the sign-stealing scheme.
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The three-time Manager of the Year has a career record of 2,183-1,862 and is one of only 12 managers to reach 2,000 wins. He currently ranks seventh all-time, with the six ahead of him and the two managers immediately behind him, in the Hall of Fame.
He is the only coach to lead five different teams to division titles.