Dusty Baker, a longtime Major League Baseball manager, has been hired as the new manager of the Houston Astros, the team announced Wednesday.
The former Washington Nationals manager is taking over for A.J. Hinch, who was fired earlier this month after MLB found the Astros illegally created a system that decoded and communicated the opposing teams’ pitching signs during their 2017 championship season.
“Throughout his successful career, Dusty has embodied the qualities that we were looking for in a manager, he’s a winner, and more importantly, a strong leader who has earned the respect of not only his players, but of virtually everyone that he has touched in baseball. We’re extremely excited to name Dusty as the new leader of our ballclub,” Houston Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane said in a statement.
Baker, 70, is one of the most respected managers in the league. After a 19-year career as an outfielder, playing with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, he moved to management in 1993 and led the Giants for 10 seasons. He has managed the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and, more recently, Washington Nationals.
He ranks 15th in career wins with a 1,863-1,636 record over 22 seasons.
“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity,” Baker said in a statement released by the team. “This is a great ballclub with outstanding players that know how to win. I applaud Jim Crane for the leadership he has shown in recent weeks and look forward to working with him and the players to bring a championship to the City of Houston.”
Baker, a three-time National League Manager of the Year, will be the oldest manager in Major League Baseball. He’s expected to be introduced as the team’s manager Thursday.
Earlier this month, Crane fired the team’s manager and general manager after MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. announced they were being suspended without pay for one season following the league’s investigation into the cheating scheme.
The MLB investigation found that at the start of the 2017 season, employees in the Astros video replay review room started using the live game feed from the center field camera to decode and transmit opposing teams’ sign sequences to use when an Astros runner was on second base.