Dusty Baker Has Hank Aaron To Thank For His Illustrious Career

When Dusty Baker won the AL pennant last week, he immediately gave a shout out to the late great Hank Aaron in his on-field speech.

And he elaborated on his initial comments when speaking about what it will mean to face off against Aaron’s team, the Atlanta Braves, in the World Series.

“In the year of Hank Aaron’s passing, to go back to Atlanta and talk to his wife and his kids and all the people that are close to the family … it’s very special,” Dusty Baker said Sunday via MLB.com. “This is kinda going to be a storybook ending, really, for all of us.”


Dusty Baker and Hank Aaron’s relationship goes way back to when Dusty was a 19-year old rookie with the Atlanta Braves. Him and Aaron were both at the forefront of civil rights reaching Major League Baseball. And when speaking with Baker’s mom, Hank Aaron vowed that he would look out for a young Baker.

Per Sports Illustrated:

“At the Braves’ hotel in Los Angeles, Christine and her son, who was known as “Dusty” because of the dirt he kicked up playing in the fruit fields behind the family home, were introduced to Aaron, the great Braves slugger. The 1967 Braves were a team studded with historical baseball figures in the making such as Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Cito Gaston, Phil Niekro, Tito Francona, Charley Lau and Bob Uecker. But Aaron, then in his long prime at 33, was baseball royalty. His words were weighty.

“If you believe in yourself,” Aaron told Dusty, “you will be in the big leagues before your college class graduates.”

And then he turned to Christine.

“Mrs. Baker,” he said, “I will take care of him as if he’s my own son.”

Now, in the year when Hank Aaron’s passed away, Dusty Baker has an opportunity. He not only has the chance to honor his good friend, but also do something he has yet to accomplish over his storied career: win a World Series.

Fittingly, the only team standing in his way of history is the same team where him and Aaron started their unique bond in 1967 – the Atlanta Braves.

This series is bound to be special for fans, players, and everyone else involved, but for Dusty Baker, this week means a little bit more.

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