Dusty Baker Leftfield, 30 home runs in 1977, 242 lifetime home runs, 2019 comp Joc Pederson
Remembering Dusty Baker as a player is something I can’t do, but fortunately, I am able to look up his highlights on Youtube. If you haven’t ever done so, you should. While most fans of my generation know Baker for his three Manager of the Year award-winning seasons, Baker was a stud on the field in his own right.
Baker, a lifelong Dodger fan and resident of Southern California, was a fan favorite and favorite of new manager Tommy Lasorda.
Here’s a video encapsulating the moment Baker reached 30 home runs on the last day of the season against Houston’s star hurler J.R. Richard from MLB Network:
Beyond the 1977 season, Baker still was a star for the Dodgers, just not quite to the same degree. In his eight seasons with the Dodgers, Baker hit 144 home runs with 179 doubles and 73 steals, enough to get him to his first two All-Star games. He also won his two Silver Sluggers and his Gold Glove with the Dodgers.
Along with Smith, he gave the Dodgers one of the greatest outfields of the decade. Like Smith, Max Muncy is my comparison for Baker, due to how the Dodgers gave both players a chance to turn their careers around. Yet Joc Pederson, a fellow outfielder, provides a similar comparison to Baker, as trust from their managers yielded powerful seasons for both.