Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Reds Fire Dusty Baker; Is He A Hall Of Famer?

Illustration for article titled Reds Fire Dusty Baker; Is He A Hall Of Famer?

After the Reds washed out in the one-game wild card, GM Walt Jocketty was asked if Dusty Baker would be back next year. "I think so," Jocketty said. "He's got another year on his contract." It sounds like the GM was overruled from above, because reports out of Cincinnati have Baker out as Reds manager.


Baker's stint in Cincy resembled the rest of his career: pretty good, never good enough. Over six seasons the Reds went 509-463, making the playoffs three times—going 2-7 and losing in the first round each time. He continued his old-school ways, ignoring fancy stats like "on-base percentage" when setting his lineup and making bizarre pitching decisions (this season's various Aroldis Chapman sagas are a perfect example.) On the bright side, none of his young pitchers' arms have fallen off since Edinson Volquez.

The Reds, with a solid core of hitters and some lights-out starters, immediately become one of two incredibly attractive landing spots for potential managers (along with Washington). Initial reports have the team looking to stay in-house, so the obvious candidate becomes Jim Riggleman, who managed the Reds' AAA team this season.

Baker's legacy is a complicated one, should he choose to retire (he's 64). He's spent, with a single season off, the last 20 years having significant-to-moderate success with three of the NL's marquee clubs. A three-time manager of the year, Baker is one of just six coaches in the history of the game to win the division with three different teams—but of those six, he's the only one without a Championship. His longevity (16th most wins all-time), consistency (a .526 winning percentage), and his knack for quickly effecting turnarounds everywhere he went make him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate; his lack of a ring, and the fact that by most objective measures he wasn't a very good manager, probably keep him out.