On Tuesday, the Nationals announced the hiring of Baker only a month after Matt Williams had been fired. The lack of Williams’ managing experience played a part in the club not making the postseason even though they had one of the strongest starting pitching rotations in the league.
Baker, who is 66, has worked over 20 seasons as a major league manager and has an overall record of 1,671-1,504, which is second amongst active manager in victories.
In 2002, Baker guided the San Francisco Giants to the World Series. He reached the playoffs on six other occasions as well. In his career as manager, Baker has managed the Cincinnati Reds where he was fired in 2013, the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs.
Baker was named in 1993, 1997 and in 2000 as the Manager of the Year in the National League.
In 1986, Baker retired as a major league player following 19 seasons and one World Series title in 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Nationals apparently had decided on hiring Bud Black the former manager of the San Diego Padres last week, prior to contract talks breaking down with him.
In the release by the club over the hiring of Baker, Mike Rizzo the general manager of the Nationals said the team was excited about bringing Baker to Washington with his steady demeanor and many years of experience of the game, which will work, in the team’s favor.
When Lloyd McClendon was fired by Seattle last month, it left zero black managers in the majors. No season has begun since 1988 without at least one black manager.
Rizzo fired Williams a day after the Nationals ended their regular season four games over .500 and seven games behind in the NL East.
Williams, who was a player for Baker with San Francisco, had never managed in the big leagues when hired in 2014. Washington won the NL East that season and Williams was named the NL Manager of the Year.