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Wheatland Sun

Dusty Baker Inducted into National High School Hall of Fame

Jun 19, 2019 12:00AM ● By Luke Modrovsky, National Federation of State High School Associations

Carmichael Homegrown baseball legend Dusty Baker is inducted into National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Dusty Baker, who was one of the top four-sport high school athletes in California history before his stellar professional baseball career, is among 12 individuals who will be inducted in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame June 30 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 37th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on the third day of the 100th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.

During his high school career at Sacramento Del Campo High School in the 1960s, Baker played football, basketball and baseball, and competed in track and field. Although baseball would eventually be his sport of choice, Baker excelled in the other sports as well.

In football, he scored six touchdowns in one game and set several scoring records as a running back and punt returner for Del Campo High. In basketball, Baker averaged 22 points and 17 rebounds and, as a result of his high school performance, was offered a scholarship to Santa Clara University.

In track and field, Baker set a school record of 9.8 in the 100-yard dash, and he recorded a 23-6 effort in the long jump at the California State Track and Field Meet.

Baker was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and, despite the scholarship offer to play college basketball, chose baseball, which turned out to be a pretty good decision. Baker played the first eight of his 19 seasons with the Braves, with his best season in 1973 when he hit .288 with 21 home runs and 99 runs batted in. On April 8, 1974, Baker was on deck when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth.

Baker played eight years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the 1980 season when he hit 29 home runs and was fourth in the MVP balloting and 1981 when he helped the Dodgers to a World Series title. He was a two-time National League all-star and received a Gold Glove Award as well. Baker finished his career with one season in San Francisco and two years in Oakland and posted a .278 lifetime average with 242 home runs.

After his playing career, Baker managed the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals for 22 years and posted a .532 winning percentage. He ranks 15th on the all-time list with 1,863 victories. He led the Giants to the 2002 National League pennant and was named National League Manager of the Year three times.

Baker continued to give back to the Sacramento community throughout his playing days, returning to speak to groups about honor, sportsmanship, parenthood, racism or other life challenges. He began the Dusty Baker Baseball School, and his commitment, leadership, compassion and concern for the development of young student-athletes continues today after more than 35 years. He also is a member of the Advisory Board of Positive Coaching Alliance, which is dedicated to promoting positive character development in youth and education-based athletics.

Baker is a member of numerous halls of fame, including the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame, the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame, the California Black Sports Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)-Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame. He received the Major League Baseball Silver Bat Award in 1980 and 1981.

The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 482.

The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and education leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.