“It is truly an honor and privilege to be selected to the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. This is a tremendous thing to have. It shows everyone throughout the country what great talent we have here. I’m privileged to be from Sacramento and to be part of this. I thank all the fans for showing their support and voting for me and all these great athletes. I love Sacramento and am proud to call it my home.”
Major League Baseball
High School: Del Campo
College: American River
* MLB Playing Career: 19 Years: (Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland)
* 2 Time All-Star (1981, 1982)
* World Series Champion (1981)
* Gold Glove Award (1981)
* 2 Time Silver Slugger Award (1980, 1981)
* NLCS MVP (1977)
* MLB Managing Career: 24 Years: ( San Francisco, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati,
* 1,987 victories
* 3 Time MLB Manager of the Year, (1993, 1997, 2000)
Johnny B. Baker Jr. aka Dusty is one of the greatest baseball players to ever come from the Sacramento area. Dusty played locally at Del Campo and American River College. While he is known to the world for his baseball accomplishments, the people of Sacramento know he was an outstanding multi-sport athlete. At Del Campo, Dusty excelled at football, basketball, baseball and track. Dusty and his siblings were the only black students at Del Campo and faced many difficult times, but utilized sports as an outlet.
In 1967 he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves where he played with Hall of Famer, Hank Aaron, who became a valued parental figure. Aaron, who had faced extreme racism, gave Dusty advice on how to handle the environment of the South. “He talked to me all the time about everything...how to be a man… how to play in pain… how to play the game in your head.”
Baker has seen it all as a player and manager. His accomplishments are many and include a 19 year run as a player and is currently going into his 20th year as a manager.
His playing career lead him to be an All-Star twice and a World Series Title with the Dodgers in 1981. He was a 2 Time Silver Slugger Award winner: the best offensive player at each position, voted by managers and coaches. Dusty was also the Gold Glove Award winner for his outstanding play in left field during the 1981 season. Dusty is also credited with the creation of the “High-Five”, when in 1977 after hitting his 30th home run of the season, reached up and smacked Glenn Burke’s hand as he approached home plate.
Dusty was the first National League manager to win Manager of the Year Award three times. He has been to the post season as a skipper with all three of his teams (SF, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati). He made an immediate impact with all of his teams: taking over struggling teams and leading them into the playoffs. His managerial “dynamics” on the field caught the attention of EA Sports in 2001, as they thought he would be perfect for their new game “Triple Play Baseball.”
Dusty continues to live in the Sacramento area during the off season and has been an outstanding member of the community. He has contributed numerous scholarships to high school students and is active in many community service organizations.
Dusty was introduced to those in attendance by his brother, Robie, who reminded everyone that Dusty is being inducted into the Hall of Fame because he is not only an outstanding athlete, but also an outstanding human being. Dusty is one who does his good deeds more quietly and without fanfare, but is regularly donating of his time and money to numerous charitable organizations both locally and in the cities where he has managed. But more importantly, Dusty is known to take care of strangers he sees in need. He never forgets how blessed he is and is an inspiration for generations to come. During his speech, Dusty moved the crowd when he spoke of visiting his father's grave at the cemetery and knowing he was smiling down and him. Then he handed his son his induction plaque saying that one day he hope he would be just as proud. Dusty is a man of honor and integrity and we are thrilled to have him as part of the first class of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.