clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Little Insight Into Dusty Baker

New, 36 comments

They're going to have a ceremony tonight at Dodger Stadium honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Dodger club that won the World Series over the Yankees.

One of the members of that team was, of course, Dusty Baker.

Baker wasn't a superstar, but he was a very good player for a very long time. Look at his stats -- I think we'd be happy if Matt Murton had a career similar to Baker's. He did well in postseason series, too -- except the 1981 World Series, where he hit .167/.192/.167 in 24 at-bats.

In a long interview, Baker recently revealed why he was so ineffective in the '81 Series -- he had gotten into an off-field fight:

I had two friends with me and they were taking us to the airport. They were taking our wives, me, Kenny Landreaux and Derrel Thomas. I came around the corner in the parking lot and saw some Canadian dudes there. I saw Derrel's wife and her feet were up in the air. They'd pushed her out of the way, and we got into a fight in the parking lot. I was uppercutting this guy, and I guess we beat him up, and I got on the plane and my right hand started throbbing. I went to tell Tommy [Lasorda, Dodgers manager], and I said, "I think I broke my hand." He said, "What? How?" I told him: fighting.

I called my dad and he was upset. He said, "I told you about fighting all the time." I had to see a doctor in New York the next day, and he said it'll be all right in six to eight weeks. I said, "Doc, I don't have six to eight hours." Manny Mota gave me one of those bowling sleeves that you put on. I never took my batting gloves off. Tommy knew. My teammates knew.

I couldn't swing. I was swinging one-handed. I couldn't say anything because if I said something, they'd walk me to get to somebody intentionally. Tommy said he wanted me out there. He told me, "I don't care if you're one-legged, I need you out there." I couldn't do anything. I had to eat it.

That's one of the reasons I want to get back to the World Series so bad. I helped us get there, but I couldn't do anything. Everybody was like, are you choking? What's wrong with you? [Gary Matthews] called me and Garry Maddox called me. They said, "What's wrong with you, man? You don't swing like that." I couldn't tell anybody. You had to eat it. Like Tommy said, they needed me on the field -- not to be a hero or anything. Tommy said, "You've got to play."

Hat tip to Rob at 6-4-2 for the link.