Cheers for New Giant Manager : Baseball: Dusty Baker is already a popular figure in San Francisco.

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From Associated Press

In his first day on the job, new San Francisco Giant Manager Dusty Baker did the unusual. He stole the spotlight from baseball’s highest-paid player.

Baker got the biggest cheer from a crowd of more than 1,000 people at a rally Wednesday to celebrate the not-finalized deal to keep the Giants in town. The welcome given Baker, whose hiring had been the subject of weeks of speculation, even surpassed that given to a tardy Barry Bonds and his father, Bobby.

“This is the greatest day of my life, so far,” Baker said. “The next greatest day is when we win the pennant and the world championship.”


Baker’s success will depend partly on Barry Bonds, who signed a six-year, $43.75-million contract last week. Baker is a boyhood friend of Bobby Bonds, and, as expected, chose him as the Giants’ first base and hitting coach.

Baker had been the hitting coach. He replaces the fired Roger Craig as manager.

Even with Barry and Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays present, it was Baker’s day all the way.

Baker, 43, was a coach under Craig for the final five of his seven seasons as manager. The first of five candidates interviewed by new General Manager Bob Quinn, Baker beat out Angel coach John Wathan, Baltimore coach Davey Lopes, Chicago Cub coach Tom Trebelhorn and Minnesota coach Ron Gardenhire.

“I didn’t think it would happen this soon, although I had a plan that I would be a manager somewhere in five years,” Baker said. “I’m excited. I’m psyched.”

Baker becomes the fourth black manager in the majors, joining Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hal McRae of the Kansas City Royals and Don Baylor of the Colorado Rockies. There also are two Hispanic managers: Felipe Alou of the Montreal Expos and Tony Perez of the Cincinnati Reds.

Baker, an All-Star outfielder who played for Atlanta, the Dodgers, San Francisco and Oakland, is known for his easy-going demeanor and rapport with players.

Pitcher Jeff Brantley said Baker’s hiring was a popular move among players.

“I’m fired up now,” he said. “I think Dusty knows exactly what we need to do to win. There’s not one person who doesn’t hold Dusty in the highest respect.”


Bonds agreed.

“In Pittsburgh, I played for a great manager,” he said. “Dusty Baker is like a Jim Leyland-type person. We would have played for Jim Leyland for nothing. I have the same feeling for Dusty Baker.”

Hiring Line

Black managers in major league baseball DUSTY BAKER: San Francisco Giants, 1992 DON BAYLOR: Colorado Rockies, 1992 HAL McRAE: Kansas City Royals, 1991-92 CITO GASTON: Toronto Blue Jays, 1989-92 MAURY WILLS: Seattle Mariners, 1980-81 LARRY DOBY: Chicago White Sox, 1978 FRANK ROBINSON: Cleveland Indians, 1975-77 San Francisco Giants, 1981-84 Baltimore Orioles, 1988-91