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A Uni Watch Look at Dusty Baker

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Astros manager Dusty Baker announced yesterday that he’s retiring. He leaves behind an interesting aesthetic legacy — not as deep as, say, Buck Showalter’s, but much deeper than that of the typical MLB skipper. I’ve written about Baker before, but now that he’s stepping down, it seems appropriate to recap the key components of his on-field style:

1. The JrOB

Baker didn’t wear “Jr.” as part of his NOB as a player or in his first four managerial stints (with the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals). But when he joined the Astros in 2020, he added the generational suffix. I’m pretty sure he was first — and still only? — MLB manager to do this.

2. The Toothpick

It’s hard to imagine Baker without his signature splinter, which is such an essential accessory that it was included as part of a Baker bobblehead in 2011. once tried to figure out how many of them he’d gone though, and there’s even a box of them at the Hall of Fame! I’m sure he wasn’t the first MLB skipper to chomp on a toothpick, but I suspect he’ll be the last.

3. The Wristbands

There’s something really endearing about the way Baker kept wearing those Mimsbandz wristbands with the not-very-good depiction of himself.

4. The Gloves

During the Covid epidemic, Baker routinely wore gloves on the field as a precaution. (He also wore a mask, which wreaked havoc with his toothpick habit.)

5. The Wrong Cap

On Sunday night, in what turned out to be Baker’s next-to-last game, he wore an orange-brimmed cap while the rest of the ’Stros wore solid-navy — perhaps a sign, if you believe in such things, that his tenure was coming to an end. I don’t really believe that myself, but you could definitely view it as an omen.

In any case, Baker was always an interesting character who made the game more fun. He’ll be missed here at Uni Watch HQ. Enjoy your retirement, Dusty.



ITEM: World Series Preview Now Available

The World Series begins tomorrow night. That means it’s time for the annual Uni Watch World Series Preview, which is jam-packed with fun uni-related facts about the D-backs and Rangers. I actually learned a fair amount while researching this piece, and I think you’ll learn a lot by reading it!

You can read the first part of the World Series Preview here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you full access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support!



Can of the Day

Love all the stripes, along with the white highlights on the check mark. Great color scheme, too.

Comments (13)

    Dusty will be back, the man cannot live without baseball and he belongs to it. No MLB without Dusty. Does anybody know why he started wearing the junior on his back?

    Aha, I thought it might have something to do with his father passing away at that time and wanting to honor him.

    I’d love to see a player/coach/manager with a professional suffix after their last name. “BAKER DMD”; “JONES PhD”; etc.

    I think it would have been cool if they had allowed Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to have MD on the back of his jersey. But I also suspect that it would have opened the floodgates to players requesting permission for other suffixes, some of them probably less than legitimate, and in the end would have created a headache for the NFL to figure out where to draw the line on what should and should not be allowed on the back of a jersey. So I can understand why they disallowed it.

    Strongly disagree. The NOB is an identifier, not a résumé. I wish the Jr, Sr, III, etc floodgate never opened. The name is there to help someone ID a player if they don’t know their number. The only acceptable Jr/Sr I can think of would have been the Griffeys for the brief time they shared an outfield in Seattle.

    Maybe he should have changed his name to Laurent EmDee. After all, if it worked for Chad 85…

    I forget where I heard/saw this mentioned, but if you combine Dusty’s time as a player and manager, he holds the record for most air miles traveled by any major leaguer. Not sure how this was calculated.

    I was a fan of Dusty Baker as a kid–I liked his name, and I loved his 1975 Topps baseball card, with the great Braves uniform of that era. (Google “1975 Topps Dusty Baker” to see.)

    Dusty always looked good in a uniform, first as a Brave and later as a Dodger. Was one of the first players to wear his stirrups high, back in the late 60’s / early 70’s when few players were doing so. Was at the plate to greet Hank Aaron after Aaron’s 715th home run. Dusty helped invent the high five. The World Series game where JT Snow had to pick up Dusty’s batboy son, so he wouldn’t get run over. Dusty will be missed.

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