CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker reached another milestone in his long major league career Tuesday night when he managed his 3,000th game, guiding the Cincinnati Reds against one of his former teams, the Chicago Cubs.
"I’m just glad that out of the 3,000 games, I won more than we’ve lost," said the 63-year-old Baker, who had a 1,572-1,426 record before Tuesday’s game and also managed one tie game in 2002.
"That’s a lot of games. That’s not as many as some, but I still got quite a few games left in me," he said.
At 19th on the career list, Baker isn’t even halfway to Connie Mack. Mack is tops at 7,755 games managed.
Baker began his managerial career in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants and led them to the World Series in his final season there in 2002.
He took over the Cubs in 2003 and got them within five outs of the World Series before a monumental collapse against the Florida Marlins in the NL championship series. Following a 66-win season in 2006, Chicago did not renew his contract. But Baker did have more managing in him. Since 2008, he’s been running the Reds and has Cincinnati in position to win its second NL Central title in three years.
The 63-year-old Baker began his playing career in 1968 with Atlanta when he was 19 years old and finished up in 1986. He played in 2,039 games and 40 more in the playoffs.
"Things have gone fairly well. I played a long time,
Baker was a hailed as a savior when he first came to Chicago as the Cubs were poised to end a World Series championship drought that has now reached 104 years. But his final season was anything but pleasant and he’s often been booed on his return to Wrigley Field, some fans forgetting perhaps that he got the Cubs as close to the World Series as any manager has since their last appearance in 1945.
The Reds’ magic number over the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the division was five before Tuesday night.
Asked if it could be extra satisfying to clinch at Wrigley, Baker said not really.
"I thought of it a few days ago," he said. "Our goal is just win. I don’t care where we clinch it at really. I just want to clinch it," he said. "Then go on to step two and hopefully step three and then step four and then go home."