SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One of the organization’s most popular managers, Dusty Baker, is rejoining the San Francisco Giants nearly 16 years after his difficult departure.
The 68-year-old Baker, who was fired as skipper of the Washington Nationals after last season, will serve as a special adviser to CEO Larry Baer working in both the baseball and business operations of the club.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dusty back to the organization,” Baer said. “In addition to being one of the most beloved Giants alumni, Dusty brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and experience to this position and I know his contributions will be felt far and wide throughout our organization.”
Baker managed the Giants from 1993-2002, when the club lost to the wild-card Angels in Game 7 of the World Series after squandering Game 6. His son, Darren, is a freshman baseball player at the University of California in Berkeley and Baker has been a regular at his games.
“He’s a friend and manager who can add to what we’re hoping to do, and that’s get better here with new ideas, or talking to the guys,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before an exhibition game against the Athletics. “With Dusty, he’s a guy that I’ve always revered and respected. We’ve managed against each other now for more than 20 years. He lives in Sacramento, so he’ll be close. I had a chance to talk to him a little bit today. He did a lot here for the San Francisco Giants and I’m glad to see Dusty back here and helping. We welcome him with open arms and look forward to talking to him during the season.”
After a contentious departure from the Giants, Baker went on to manage the Cubs for four seasons before a stint with the Reds from 2008-13 and then two years as Nationals skipper leading Washington to a pair of NL East titles.
Baker’s contract was not renewed after 10 seasons with the Giants despite guiding the team to its first World Series in 13 years. Baker became the first manager in nearly three decades to leave a team right after reaching the World Series.
He and former owner Peter Magowan feuded and the tension simmered all that season. Baker was credited by many observers for his ability to handle a difficult clubhouse that included feuding stars Barry Bonds — who went on to become home run king — and Jeff Kent.
Brian Sabean recommended to Magowan that they end negotiations on a new deal for Baker and they parted ways just before Baker’s contract was set to expire.
That all seems so long ago now for both sides. Baker has managed three other places since, watched his son grow up and daughter get married, while the Giants won the World Series in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14.
“Almost healed, but great memories,” Baker said via text message Monday.
AP Freelance Writer Gideon Rubin contributed to this report.
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