Dusty Baker Was One of Just Five Minority Managers Among Baseball's 30 teams
Major League Baseball had just five minority managers in 2021, a league where nearly half of the players are non-white. It is obviously an embarrassing statistic, but baseball should feel even more shame as it examines the dugouts during the postseason.
Of the four teams in the League Championship Series, three have a minority manager. Although they comprise just six percent of the managerial positions, minority skippers have claimed 75% of the sport's final four.
Dusty Baker, the African-American whose Houston Astros are heading for the World Series, boasted a 95-67 record in 2021. It will be Baker's second trip to the Finals, further enhancing a Hall of Fame spot for the winningest African-American manager in the history of the game.
To get there, Baker had to beat one of the two other other minority skippers, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox. A native of Puerto Rico, Cora guided the Bosox to 92 wins and came just eighteen innings from capturing the pennant.
Eighteen innings is also the amount missed by the sport's only other African-American manager, Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had led the Bums to last year's championship and notched 106 victories this year, coming just two wins from returning to the Fall Classic again in 2021.
Coming just one game shy of reaching the postseason was Charlie Montoyo, the Puerto Rican skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays. His young squad, highlighted by first baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette, captured 91 wins to stay in the playoff race until game 162.
The only minority manager to not reach the coveted ninety win mark, Luis Rojas of the New York Mets, had his club at the top of the National League East until a collapse after the All-Star break. Puerto Rican native Rojas and the CitiField team still managed 77 wins, in spite of injuries to Cy young Award winner Jacob deGromm and All-Star right hander Noah Syndergard.
All in all, minority managers finished with a record of 449-361, three of them reaching the League Championship Series. The 25 white managers, comprising 75% of the total in the major Leagues, compiled a combined record of 1877-1933 with just one (Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves) making it to the LCS.
Baseball's failure to hire minority managers has long been bemoaned from an emotional and cultural standpoint, given the sport's large number of non-white players. Now Commissioner Rob Manfred and the many white owners have been confronted with statistical evidence of the success rate for the few minority managers in the game today, so it will be much more difficult to justify shunning managerial candidates of color.