In 2018, Dusty Baker (Del Campo High School) might become the first person from the Sacramento region to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 20 years managing the Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, Baker, 66, won 1,671 games, led the Giants to two division titles and the 2002 National League pennant and reached the playoffs with the Reds and Cubs.
Baker’s wins total surpasses Hall of Famers Fred Clarke (1,602), Tom Lasorda (1,599), Dick Williams (1,571), Clark Griffith (1,493), Earl Weaver (1,480), Miller Huggins (1,413), Al Lopez (1,410), Wilbert Robinson (1,399), Ned Hanlon (1,313), Cap Anson (1,295), Frank Selee (1,284), Whitey Herzog (1,281) and Billy Southworth (1,044).
His .526 career winning percentage is better than Hall of Famers Bill McKechnie (.524), Casey Stengel (.508), Bucky Harris (.493), Connie Mack (.486), Williams (.520) and Robinson (.500).
Dusty Baker managed the Giants to two division titles and the 2002 National League pennant and reached the playoffs with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs.
Only three managers with more wins than Baker are not in the Hall of Fame: Gene Mauch (1,902), Lou Piniella (1,835) and Jim Leyland (1,769).
Some voters might penalize Baker for not winning a World Series, winning only one pennant and winning 100 games just one season, his first in 1993 with the Giants.
If Baker isn’t inducted as a manager, perhaps the Veterans Committee will consider his 39 years in the majors as a player and manager.
In his 19-year playing career, Dusty Baker batted .278 with 242 home runs and 1,013 RBIs.
As a player, Baker didn’t have Hall of Fame numbers. But he had very good production during 19 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants and A’s. Baker played from 1968 to 1986, batting .278 with 242 home runs and 1,013 RBIs.
Baker also helped the Dodgers win N.L. pennants in 1977 and ’78 and the World Series in ’81, and he was a two-time N.L. All-Star.
This and that
▪ When Baker managed, he always had a toothpick in his mouth. Asked why he chewed on a toothpick during the game, he replied, “Toothpicks are an excellent source of protein.”
▪ Catcher Andrew Knapp (Granite Bay) made the Class-A Advanced Florida State League North All-Star team representing the Clearwater Threshers. Knapp, who went 0 for 2 in the game, has been promoted to the Reading (Pa.) Fightin Phils of the Double-A Eastern League.
▪ In the Class-A South Atlantic League All-Star Game, first baseman Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit, Sacramento State) of the Lakewood (Fla.) BlueClaws went 1 for 3 with a run scored and a double for the North, and second baseman Mauricio Dubon (Capital Christian) of the Greenville (S.C.) Drive was 0 for 2 with a run scored and an RBI for the South. Hoskins has been promoted to Class-A Advanced Clearwater, and Dubon has moved up to the Salem (Va.) Red Sox of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League.
▪ Jupiter (Fla.) Hammerheads right-hander Scott Lyman (UC Davis) made the Class-A Advanced Florida State League All-Star Game. But he didn’t play because his 7-1 record and 1.61 ERA earned him a promotion to the Jacksonville (Fla.) Suns of the Double-A Southern League.
▪ Third baseman Ryan Cordell (Valley Christian) has been promoted to the Frisco (Texas) RoughRiders of the Double-A Texas League.
▪ Outfielder Nathan Lukes (Center, Sac State) received a $130,000 signing bonus from Cleveland.
▪ The Giants signed San Joaquin Delta left-hander Cameron Avila-Leeper (Grant) and Oklahoma State catcher Bryan Case (Winters, Cosumnes River).
▪ Other area draftees who signed include Sacramento State right-handers Brennan Leitao with St. Louis and Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) with Philadelphia and shortstop Scott Burcham with Colorado; UC Davis first baseman Nick Lynch and catcher Izaak Silva with the Los Angeles Angels; Stanford left-hander Logan James (Jesuit) with Seattle; and Cal State Monterey Bay right-hander Kory Groves (Oakmont, Sacramento City) with Baltimore.
▪ Undrafted free-agent right-hander Ty Nichols (Sac State) signed with Tampa Bay, and Menlo catcher Riley Drongesen (Granite Bay) signed with St. Louis. Right-hander John Kukuruda (East Nicolaus), who didn’t play in 2014, signed with Texas.
▪ Right-hander Ben Eckels (Davis) was released by Arizona, and right-hander Mitch Lively (Sac State) was released by Washington.
▪ San Jose right-hander Martin Agosta (Jesuit) threw seven shutout innings, allowed one hit and struck out nine against Inland Empire and was named California League Player of the Week (June 21).
▪ Catcher Tyler LaTorre (UC Davis) has been reassigned to the Helena (Mont.) Brewers and first baseman Tyler Kuresa (Oakmont) to the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins, both rookie teams.
▪ Cincinnati sent infielder Kristopher Negron (Cosumnes River) to the Louisville (Ky.) Bats of the Triple-A International League.
Mark McDermott is a freelance writer specializing in Sacramento-area baseball. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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