Reds fire Baker
CINCINNATI, Ohio—The Cincinnati Reds fired Dusty Baker today, parting ways with the manager who led them to their best stretch of success since the “Big Red Machine” but couldn’t get them past the first round of the post-season.
The move came after the Reds lost the wild-card playoff in Pittsburgh 6-2 on Tuesday night, ending the season with their sixth-straight loss.
The final-week fade was a major factor in the decision, Reds’ general manager Walt Jocketty said in a phone interview.
“Just the way we played lately was a factor,” Jocketty said. “But I think the way the season ended was kind of the final decision.
“The last six games certainly played a big part in this.”
The Reds are the fourth team with an opening at manager. Davey Johnson retired after the Nationals’ season, Eric Wedge left the Mariners, and the Cubs fired Dale Sveum after finishing last in the NL Central.
Baker took over a rebuilding team in 2008 and led it to three 90-win seasons and three playoff appearances in the last four years—their best run since Sparky Anderson managed the Big Red Machine to two World Series titles in the 1970s.
Cincinnati couldn’t get past the opening round of the playoffs, however, building pressure for change.
“We felt it was important going forward to provide new leadership, a new voice, whatever you want to call it,” Jocketty said.
The 64-year-old manager didn’t get to celebrate the Reds’ last two playoff clinching wins.
Last year, he was in a hospital in Chicago recovering from an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke when the Reds wrapped up the NL Central title in Cincinnati.
They decided not to celebrate when they clinched a wild card this year with a 90-72 record, hoping for that deep run in the playoffs.
Instead, they lost their last five games of the regular season at Great American Ball Park to finish third in the division and lose out on home-field advantage for the wild-card game.
Baker went 509-463 in his six seasons with Cincinnati, finishing third on the Reds’ list for wins by a manager behind Anderson (863) and Bill McKechnie (744).
His 1,671 career wins ran 16th on the career list.
He won three NL Manager of the Year awards.
The former Braves’ and Dodgers’ star outfielder is one of only six managers to win at least 300 games with three different teams.
He took the Giants, Cubs, and Reds to the playoffs seven times without winning a World Series.
His closest brush came in 2002 with the Giants, who beat the Braves and the Cardinals before losing to the Angels in a seven-game World Series.
He’s 19-26 all-time in the post-season.