The regular season is coming to a close and the final playoff standings are beginning to form. Every manager that will arrive in the playoffs will prepare their team for a potential World Series run. However, there are two managers that have more extensive experience in the postseason, and are both ready to push for their second championship.
Dave Roberts has already led the Dodgers to the NL West title and Dusty Baker, who guided the Houston Astros to a World Series victory last season, headed into last night’s game versus the Seattle Mariners with his team holding a half game lead over the Mariners for the third and final AL wildcard spot.
Roberts piloted the Dodgers to a World Series title in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Although he is a proven winner, Roberts has won only one of three of the World Series appearances in which he has taken the Dodgers. Expectations are high for him and the Dodgers again ahead of the upcoming playoffs. Currently, the Atlanta Braves are the favorite to win the National League pennant.
Baker brought legitimacy back to the Houston Astros organization after a few years of chaos following a cheating scandal which many baseball fans believe was the primary reason they captured the 2017 World Series. In the aftermath, the general assumption was the Astros run was over, but Baker, hired by Houston in January of 2020, helped steady the franchise and regain credibility
An Astros repeat as World Series champions would place Baker in an elite category as he would join Cito Gatson as the only other African-American manager to win back-to-back World Series titles. Baker is the only manager to win a division with five different teams. And over the last 30 years he’s accumulated 2.179 wins, good for seventh place all-time just behind Sparky Anderson, who Baker should pass in 2024 if he manages next season.
Another pennant for the Astros this season would mark Baker’s club winning three straight in the American League, a feat that has not happened since the New York Yankees did it from 1998-2000. Roberts has been the Dodgers manager since 2016 and they have garnered 10 of the last 11 NL West crowns. He has never won less than 91 games in seven full seasons as manager.
A dream scenario would be to see Roberts and Baker meeting up against each in the Fall Classic.