|Reds go outside organization for first time in 18 years with Dusty Baker's hiring|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 14 October 2007 11:14|
The last time they did it, they won a championship.
The Reds confirmed on Sunday that Baker will become their next manager. Baker, who has a three-year deal, will be introduced at a news conference Monday in Cincinnati.
``Dusty is extremely excited to join the Cincinnati Reds with its rich history, and looks forward to helping re-establish the legacy of the Big Red Machine,'' said his agent, Greg Genske.
The move got the players' attention. Instead of promoting from within, the Reds went for someone with no ties to the organization. During his 14 seasons as manager, the 58-year-old Baker led San Francisco to the World Series and the Chicago Cubs to the playoffs.
``Since I've been here, we haven't had the big-name manager,'' said right-hander Aaron Harang, who has been with the Reds for the last five years.
They haven't had a winning season over that span, either.
The last time the Reds hired a manager with no ties to the organization was 1990, when Lou Piniella took over and led the team to a World Series championship. Every manager since has either come from the minors, the coaching staff or from a scouting/advisory role.
Baker replaces interim manager Pete Mackanin, who was considered for the full-time job. Mackanin was the team's advance scout when Jerry Narron was fired in July, and led the Reds to a 41-39 record the rest of the way.
``I'm very disappointed with the news, but I only wish the best for the Reds and the future,'' Mackanin said by phone. ``Dusty certainly has a winning record, and I hope that the players respond to him.''
Baker has a history of handling superstars. He managed Barry Bonds in San Francisco and Sammy Sosa in Chicago. He'll be united with Ken Griffey Jr. in Cincinnati.
Mackanin might stay with the team in some capacity and still hopes to manage someday.
``It's a bit of a surprise, but I wasn't overwhelmed by it,'' Mackanin said. ``Obviously they felt they went the way they needed to go. I'm fine with it. I understand. It just isn't my time. Hopefully down the road, my time will come and I'll have an opportunity.''
Baker was fired by the Cubs after they finished an NL-worst 66-96 in 2006. Baker worked in television for a year while waiting for a chance to get back to managing. The Reds were coming off their seventh straight losing season - their longest slump since 1945-55 - and looking for someone with a record of winning.
``He has an established track record, a winning track record,'' Harang said by phone from his home in San Diego. ``He knows how to help teams win and to get them in a winning state of mind. I think he's definitely going to get a change of attitude and get the players to play for him.''
Baker managed the Giants for 10 years, leading them to the World Series in 2002. He left San Francisco after a falling out with ownership and went to the Cubs, guiding them to the NL championship series in his first season.
That first season in Chicago was the high point. Injuries depleted the starting rotation, and the organization decided to change directions after that last-place finish in 2006.