Sunday, April 5, 2009

1976 Topps #28 - Dusty Baker

His name is "Johnnie B. Baker." What does the "B" stand for?
Dusty Baker was a pretty good 20+ homer guy for the Braves and Dodgers in the 70s and early 80s. Dusty was traded from the Braves before the 1976 season with Ed Goodson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Lee Lacy, Tom Paciorek, Jerry Royster and Jimmy Wynn. He had what was probably his worst season in '76 (.242, 4 HR, 39 RBI), but he recovered in 1977 to bat .291 with 30 homers.
Dusty played in the All-Star Game in 1981 and 1982 and finished in the top ten in MVP voting in 1980 and 1981. He left the Dodgers after the 1983 season and moved to the rival SF Giants as a free agent. Dusty played for the Giants in '84 and then was traded to the A's, where he finished his career in 1986.
Dusty went on to be a coach and a manager. He managed the Giants from 1993-2002, earning three Manager of the Year awards during that time. He managed the Cubs from 2003-2006 and has managed the Reds from 2007-present. He underwent successful prostate cancer surgery in 2001.
I remember hearing fans give Dusty crap during spring training in the mid 80s about the drug allegations against him. I couldn't find much about it online though. Apparently the allegations were enough to shorten his career. Here is a good biography-type article about him.

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