Dusty Baker is out as Nationals manager
Washington did not extend his contract after two seasons, leaving major league baseball with just two managers of color
Major league baseball is down to one black manager and only two managers of color after the Washington Nationals announced Friday afternoon that they will not be bringing back Dusty Baker as manager in 2018.
Baker went 192-132 in two seasons with the Nationals, winning two National League East championships. Both of his seasons ended with five-game losses in the National League Division Series.
Baker’s .593 winning percentage was the best in Nationals franchise history for a manager who led the team for at least one full season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Baker was one of just two black managers in the majors this season. Dave Roberts, who is African-American and Japanese, has managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to the World Series. Rick Renteria, who is Latino, manages the Chicago White Sox.
Baker was not brought back by the San Francisco Giants after a 95-win season in 2002, the Cincinnati Reds after 97- and 90-win seasons (2012-13) and the Nationals after 95- and 97-win seasons (2016 and 2017).
Dusty Baker has now lost 3 of his 4 managerial jobs after winning 90+ games and making the playoffs.
— Jon @ Redbird Dugout (@JonDobleRBD) October 20, 2017
The contracts of Baker and the rest of the coaching staff expired at the end of this season. General manager Mike Rizzo reportedly recommended that Baker receive a contract extension before his deal ran out.
The #Nats announce they won't be bringing back Dusty Baker, against GM Mike Rizzo's wishes. Unbelievable
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 20, 2017
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 20, 2017
Baker described himself as a players’ manager and enjoyed a strong relationship with many of his players. In a September interview with The Undefeated, Baker spoke about how much he loved the nation’s capital and wanted to bring D.C. its first sports title in a quarter of a century.
“I love D.C.,” Baker said. “When I came here, I would love nothing more than to bring a championship here, and that’s why I think the Lord opened a way for me to come here. I honestly believe that we have to believe it, work for it; it’s not going to be given to you. In my heart, I honestly believe it’s already been written, we just have to believe it.
“That would be awesome, and especially someday, I’d like to be a part of the organization for a while in an adviser staff, even after I’m finished and hopefully go into the Hall of Fame in a Nationals uniform. … My wife and my son convinced me you don’t know how close you are sometimes, and to never stop persevering.”
The Nationals wrote in an open letter: “This was an incredibly difficult decision for us. Dusty Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in our history and represented our club with class on and off the field. He is one of the true gentleman (sic) in our sport, and we thank him for the successes that we enjoyed together over the last two years. We wish him nothing but the best going forward.”