Dusty Baker & Dave Roberts make MLB history When the Dodgers take on the Nationals in the NLDS, the two become the first African-American managers to face off in the playoffs
For the first time in 113 years, two African-American managers will face off against one another in the Major League Baseball playoffs. The Washington Nationals’ Dusty Baker and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts will begin their chess match Friday at 5:30 p.m., when the Nats welcome the Dodgers to the nation’s capital.
“I mean, significance is, you know, it gives us some pride in being African-American,” Baker told The Washington Post. “To show people that, you know, not only can we do the job, but we can do the job better than most.”
Besides being the first two black managers to square off in the playoffs, Baker and Roberts are currently the only two African-Americans managing in Major League Baseball.
“It’s important, and it doesn’t go unnoticed or underappreciated,” Roberts, who is in his first season as a manager, told The Washington Post. “I think speaking for Dusty, myself, what it means to the game of baseball, to society. You know, but I think when it comes down to it, right now, he and I, we’re just focused on winning a series.”
This is Baker’s 21st year managing in the majors. Both men started their managerial careers at age 44, with Baker beginning with the San Francisco Giants in 1993. Baker has talked openly in the past about his desire to be the first black man to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager.
“Hopefully it motivates other organizations to get some African-American managers, also to motivate other players that are playing now, and former players that have managerial aspiration,” Baker told The Washington Post. “It probably brings a lot of pride across America, and not only African-American people, but everybody.”