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Dusty Baker proves that great generals win by commanding the love, not the fear, of their troops.

Baker, the manager of the Houston Astros, is a finalist Dallas morning news Texas of the Year because with the patient patience and infectious good spirits that define the man, he saved a franchise and a city. His latest success, leading the Astros to a World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, caps a lifetime as a black pioneer on the baseball field.

Dustin, whose real name is Johnny B. Baker earned his nickname from playing in the yard his father, an Air Force technician, planted in Riverside, California. To his parents’ surprise, Baker always chose a piece of mud. rolling grass as his playing field. He never lost this predilection for the rougher side of things.

This embrace of disappointment has stood him in his playing and coaching career. He was a cornerstone of a Los Angeles Dodgers team that was a late-’70s foil to the New York Yankees, twice losing the Fall Classic to the old-fashioned Yanks. Baker won the National League Most Valuable Player award during this stretch. Finally, in 1981, the Dodgers won the World Series.

Many people think Baker is gray, but he was the youngest manager in baseball when he took over the San Francisco Giants in 1992. he was still playing when Frank Robinson broke that color barrier in 1975.

Baker led the Giants to the World Series in 2002, losing in the most painful way possible, in game seven. His personable nature made many root for him, even though his chance to become a champion coach seemed to have passed.

When the Houston Astros became the game’s most hated franchise in the wake of the 2019 sign-stealing scandal, they wisely turned to one of the game’s most beloved men. Baker guided the team to the brink, losing to the Atlanta Braves in 2021. This year, 41 years after his last World Series ring, Baker became the oldest manager to ever win a major league title as he led the Houston Astros. top

And this time, no one could begrudge the glory of the Houston Astros.

Baker’s coaching style has always been that of a patient captain. He’s not going to break the team by taking them out. He’s going to dampen their spirits with “dusts” like the story about his father leaving him up in a tree for three hours. “You climbed that tree yourself, so you figure out how to get down,” Baker recounted it for MLB Network.

Baker earns the loyalty of his troops through thoughtful actions. When his players mention food preferences, like banana puddings or oxtails, Baker stocks items in their lockers to make them feel at home on the road. Who wouldn’t fight for a man like that?

For getting champions from the Astros and building great leadership in the dugout, Dusty Baker is the Texan of the Year winner.

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