Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baker Given Reins of Nationals Club Washington Selects Veteran Manager with 1,671 Wins

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baker Given Reins of Nationals Club Washington Selects Veteran Manager with 1,671 Wins

Article excerpt

Dusty Baker got another managing job, this time with the Washington Nationals. And Baseball got another black skipper, something the man in charge of the sport called "encouraging."

The Nationals announced Baker's hiring Tuesday, nearly a month after firing Matt Williams when the club missed the playoffs.

With Baker joining the Nationals, baseball avoids its first start to a season since 1988 with zero black managers.

"I am certain that the Nationals, like all of our clubs, hired the best person for the job. It is encouraging that in this case the best person turned out to be African-American," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

"This is a positive step and I am intent on making continued progress on diversity in the managerial ranks going forward. Dusty Baker is highly qualified, has years of managerial experience and is a proven leader," Manfred said.

In Baker, 66, the Nationals get someone who has worked 20 seasons as a manager in the majors and whose 1,671-1,504 record - a .526 winning percentage - includes the second-most victories among active managers. He led the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 World Series and reached the postseason a half-dozen other times.

He becomes the second-oldest manager in the majors at the moment, a few weeks younger than Terry Collins, who led the Mets to the World Series.

Baker also managed the Chicago Cubs and, most recently, the Cincinnati Reds, who fired him in 2013. He has a reputation for being able to handle different clubhouse personalities, including managing Barry Bonds while with the Giants.

Baker won National League Manager of the Year honors in 1993, 1997 and 2000. He retired as a player in 1986 after 19 years in the majors, winning a World Series title with the Dodgers in 1981.

"We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship," Nationals owner Ted Lerner said. "During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty's deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub."

The Nationals were said to have settled on hiring former Padres manager Bud Black last week before contract talks broke down. …

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