Dusty Baker Agrees To Manage Reds

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: October 14, 2007

CINCINNATI – Dusty Baker was hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, agreeing to a three-year deal Saturday with a team coming off its seventh straight losing season and looking for stability at the top.

The 58-year-old Baker worked in television for a year after the Chicago Cubs fired him after the 2006 season. The Reds decided to go for someone who knows the NL Central and has been to the World Series as a manager.

The team didn’t make an announcement Saturday, but a person within the organization with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the Reds had reached the agreement with Baker. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move hadn’t been announced.

The deal was first reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Baker becomes the first black manager of baseball’s first professional franchise. He’ll replace Pete Mackanin, who got the job on an interim basis after Jerry Narron was fired in July.

In an interview with the AP this summer, Baker said he would wait for “the right spot” to resume managing. He’s taking over a team that has struggled for years because of a lack of pitching and direction: The Reds have had had two owners, three general managers and now five managers since 2003.

By choosing Baker, the Reds have broken with their recent history of picking managers with little experience. They also have hired someone with a history of handling superstars — Baker managed Barry Bonds in San Francisco and Sammy Sosa in Chicago.

Baker managed the Giants for 10 years, leading them to the World Series in 2002. He left San Francisco after a falling out with ownership and went to the Cubs, leading them to the NL championship series in his first season.

Five outs away from the World Series, his Cubs imploded. He led them to a winning record again the next season – their first such back-to-back record in more than three decades – but couldn’t keep it going.

The Cubs didn’t renew his contract after they finished an NL-worst 66-96 in 2006. They then went on a spending spree, committing more than $300 million dollars in payroll to make themselves competitive again.

Baker joins a team that ranked 20th in payroll at the start of last season and isn’t likely to increase it substantially in the near future.