Dusty Baker became a bitter rival of the Braves but contributed mightily as a player from 1968 to 1975. Dusty was born on June 15, 1949 in Riverside, California. He batted right and threw right.
Dusty kind of got lost in the Hank Aaron era. He was a regular center fielder in 1972 and 1973. He replaced Hank Aaron in right field for most of 1974 when the ‘Hammer cut back on his playing time after hitting number 715 and then again in 1975 when he was traded to Milwaukee.
Baker had a challenging time in Atlanta. In 1972, his first full season in the Majors, he hit a career-high .321. Notice I said career-high. He never repeated that again disappointing many of the fans. In 1973 he batted .288 with 99 RBIs and joined Aaron in the 20-20 club hitting over 20 home runs and stealing over 20 bases. It would take Dale Murphy to do the same again in 1982.
1974 and 1975 saw a big decline in his numbers. Contract discussions became difficult. He became a part of a six person trade the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would flourish there. Go figure!
Some of his career highlights were:
- 2× All-Star (1981, 1982) – Not in Atlanta
- World Series champion (1981) – Not in Atlanta
- NLCS MVP (1977) – Not in Atlanta
- Gold Glove Award (1981) – Not in Atlanta
- 2× Silver Slugger Award (1980, 1981) – Not in Atlanta
- 3× NL Manager of the Year (1993, 1997, 2000) – Not in Atlanta