Dusty Baker with the ALCS trophy. Oct 22, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) celebrates after defeating the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series after game six of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros’ 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Friday gave the Astros a 4-2 series win (completing a comeback from an 1-2 start), and meant they were headed to the World Series. That’s not an unusual recent accomplishment for that franchise, which appeared in the World Series in 2017 (winning in seven games against the Los Angeles Dodgers) and 2019 (losing in seven games to the Washington Nationals) as well as in 2005 (losing in four games to the Chicago White Sox). But one very different thing is with their manager, Dusty Baker, who’s headed back to the World Series for the first time since 2002 (when his San Francisco Giants lost in seven games to the then-Anaheim Angels). As per ESPN Stats and Info, that’s the second-longest gap between World Series appearances by a manager in MLB history:

What’s also remarkable there is that Baker has now won an AL pennant and a NL pennant, putting him in very select company:

Baker’s run with these Astros is also unusual, as it’s certainly rare for a team to change managers in the middle of a streak of three World Series appearances in five years. Of course, there’s a lot of context there, with past manager A.J. Hinch (at the helm in 2017 and 2019) suspended by MLB for the 2020 season for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal; Hinch is now with the Detroit Tigers.

Baker was hired to replace Hinch in 2020. And he’s now led the team to two terrific seasons, a 60-29 2020 (with a NLCS loss to the Tampa Bay Rays) and a 95-67 campaign this year. And now he has them in the World Series again. And as MLB’s Sarah Langs noted, he’s piled up a lot of remarkable accomplishments along the way:

Here’s how Baker reacted in a post-game interview on Fox:

The “I’ve got the greatest guys in the world, thank you guys!” there perhaps shows a lot about Baker, and about the way he’s been able to consistently inspire and get a ton out of a lot of different players. He’s also always been thinking about the game, something he’s shown in his previous broadcasting roles (we spoke to him in 2015 ahead of his time with Turner) as well. And while he does have a World Series ring as a player (with the Dodgers in 1981), it would certainly be cool to see him get one as a manager. We’ll see how that goes when the World Series starts Tuesday.

[The Score; photo from Thomas Shea/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.