On Saturday, the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to win the 2022 World Series. Astros general manager Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker became the third Black general manager in MLB history to earn the Commissioner’s trophy. Baker’s career as a general manager and as a player is nothing short of historical, including the eight seasons he spent playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the mid-1970s and early 1980s.
Baker was acquired by the Dodgers in 1976, but had a breakout season the following year. In 1977, he batted .291 with 155 hits and 30 homeruns in 153 games. He was one of four Dodgers players who hit at least 30 homers each, making the Dodgers the first team to complete the feat in MLB history.
After hitting his thirtieth homer, Baker took part in arguably the first-ever high five when his teammate Glenn Burke greeted him on deck with his hand in the air. Unsure of what to do, Baker hit his hand.
“It was just something that we did,” Baker said in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “The High Five.” “Sometimes, you don’t know why you do some of the things you do especially when you’re extremely happy, you just respond to each other.”
That season, Baker had his postseason debut and ultimately became NLCS MVP. In 1978, Baker batted .262 and made 137 hits, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series for a second consecutive time.
Baker earned the Silver Slugger award in 1980 and played in his first All Star Game in 1981. That season, he made 128 hits, 49 RBIs and batted a career-high .320. The Dodgers ultimately won the World Series that year, giving Baker his first and only championship win as a player. Baker also won the Silver Slugger Award and Golden Glove Award during that season.
In 1982, Baker earned his second All Star nod and batted .300 while hitting 23 homeruns and 88 RBIs. His final year with the Dodgers came in 1983 when he batted .260 and made 138 hits.
Baker received several of his awards during the years that he played for the Dodgers. He played for the MLB for 19 years, making 1981 hits, 242 homeruns and 1013 RBIs.