It’s time: A plea for Dusty B.

By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus

Dear baseball gods.

I know y’all are a bit busy this week getting ready for the usual October festivities. But I’m just asking for a couple of minutes of your time. I’m not one to be asking for public favors, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

It’s about Johnnie B. Baker Jr. We all know him as “Dusty”.

He’s had a very wonderful baseball life on and off the field. A two-time All-Star and World Series champion in 1981 during a 19-year playing career. As a manager, he’s the only man in MLB history to lead five different franchises to the postseason and became the 12th member of the 2,000-win club earlier this season.

He also is one of nine managers to win pennants in both leagues, guiding the Giants to the World Series in 2002 and the Astros in 2021. His 40 career postseason wins are tied for eighth all time with Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

There’s no doubt in this writer’s mind that he’s already slated for a plaque in Cooperstown down the road. But with all that being said, y’all haven’t been too cool to him regarding the Fall Classic. Despite his overall success, being the last team standing has been really elusive.

And now a year later after being denied again, Baker is back hoping to get that last checkmark for his storied career. At the age of 73, he is now the oldest manager to reach the World Series, surpassing Florida’s Jack McKeon. And who was one of the teams that the Marlins beat along the way? Dusty’s Chicago Cubs.

While the postseason has been an overall mixed bag for Dusty, the World Series trophy has been Moby Dick to his Captain Ahab. Also, Baker is working on a one-year extension signed just after last year’s World Series loss.

“I’ve just got some unfinished business to take care of,” he said to ESPN at the time of his extension. “We’re close. We’re getting better every year. I thank the organization for giving us the pieces, thank (GM) James Click for adding the pieces at the right time and the togetherness we have on this team. I’m very proud to be the team’s leader.”

Now for many in the baseball circles, the Astros are still looked upon as MLB’s ultimate villains. The stench of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal that tainted Houston’s World Series crown and led to the firing of manager AJ Hinch is still very fresh in minds of the media and fans.

However, when one considers the roster turnover from the scandal to now, it’s way too easy to keep stigmatizing this current team. Especially when you factor in the influence of Baker as well. Baker guided the Astros to the American League Championship Series in 2020 and to 95 wins and the World Series in 2021.

Houston’s four-game sweep of the Yankees clinched the fourth pennant in the last six seasons for the Astros and it was Baker’s third pennant as a manager. It was his sixth postseason series victory with Houston, after having won three postseason matchups in his first 22 seasons.

We’re taught to be impartial while working in the media. However, I have no problem stepping out of the press box for the next few days and root for Dusty to join Cito Gaston and Dave Roberts as the third black manager to win a World Series.

Baseball gods, please make this happen. Because, it’s time.

Thanks for your time. Signed, Tee Mack.

Anthony McClean can be reached via email at

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