We spoke to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts around his 50th birthday in May. Roberts’ Dodgers didn’t win the World Series, but he had many accomplishments, from leading his team to a franchise-record 111 wins (becoming just the fifth team in AL/NL history to win that many games in one season) to moving up the postseason all-time wins list.
Former MLBbro Bryant Nelson sees Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and envisions being in the same spot in the future. Nelson, who was drafted by the Astros in 1992, wants to be a Major League manager, too. That’s why he has started his journey to become a coach in The Show.
Just Two Black Full-Time MLB Managers
Baker and Dave Roberts from the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only two current Black managers in the game. It’s a fair question when some ask what steps need to be taken to have more diversity in the dugout and in the front office.
MLB Diversity Scout and Coaching Development Program
Last week, Nelson completed the second year of the MLB Diversity Scout and Coaching Development Program. “My dream has always been to be a manager,” Bryant said. “I was drafted as a pitcher. I played six different positions. “I switch-hit. There isn’t much within the game I haven’t done. I know I could help a lot of guys.”
Nelson was in professional baseball for 23 years, starting in the Astros’ minor league system. He would have stints with three other minor league clubs before making his Major League debut in 2002 with the Boston Red Sox.
Nelson never got the chance to have a breakout kind of season in order to stick long term. He batted .265 in 25 games with the BoSox. That was his career in the Bigs. But he kept playing all over the world – with stops in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan and Italy.
Make no mistake about it, however, Nelson did damage in the minors at home. Before hanging up his cleats, Nelson became the all-time hits leader in the Atlantic League. Thought his career, Nelson displayed elite contact skills. He batted .284 during 11 seasons in the minors and never struck out more than 52 times in any season.
Bryant, 48, is currently seeking to transition into professional coaching, combining the skills he developed over his playing career with the knowledge he obtained at the MLB coaching program.
“The program really taught me a lot about terminology being used in the game today, better ways to evaluate talent and maturing as both a coach and scout,” Nelson said. “I gained a deeper respect for all the hard work that goes into scouting. “It was an eye-opening experience with Tyrone Brooks and Bo Porter spearheading it. It’s a very good program.”
Dusty Speaks On World Series Blackout
Baker has been outspoken about the current state of the game when it comes to Black players. This World Series is the first not to have a single Black player since 1950. The member of the exclusive 2,000-win club flat out said “he’s ashamed of the game.” It’s a far cry from when he played in the 70s, when Black players were littered all over MLB rosters.
Dusty has led a record five teams to 12 postseason berths, three World Series appearances, and has won more games than all but eight managers in history.
“I don’t think that’s something that baseball should be really proud of. It looks bad,” Baker lamented.
Nelson thinks Black representation is important to the sport. “We’re stuck on about 6-8 percent of Black players at each level,” Nelson said. “And I don’t think the number will I prove until more Black coaches are hired to develop and push these players. It’s one of my missions.”
Nelson is very optimistic about potential future opportunities gained from his experience. “This program has done a good job preparing us for the opportunity, now it’s just about putting the time and work in and getting the opportunity to show our worth within the game.”
Dave Roberts got his 45th career playoff win as a manager in Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series last night, moving him to fourth on the All-Time list. Roberts has not and may never get the credit he deserves for the consistency his Dodgers have shown since he took the reins as their manager in 2016.
He has six National League West titles in seven seasons, two World Series appearances and won a ring in 2020. Roberts began this year by guaranteeing his team would bring the World Series trophy back to Los Angeles and after Game 1 it looks like his team is right on track.
The Dodgers smacked San Diego in the mouth early with a homer and two runs in the first inning.
They continued to apply pressure to Padres starter Mike Clevenger with a three-run third inning that was almost made worse by a near grand slam courtesy of Mookie Betts that was foul by just a few feet.
On the Dodgers side of pitching, Roberts decided to go with one of his most accomplished and trusted arms in lefty Julio Urias who went five innings, striking out six and giving up three earned runs which all came in the fifth.
Roberts called the right numbers out of the bullpen for the remaining portion of the game. They gave him four shutout innings and struck out four as they would hold on to win 5-3.
Another positive for the Dodgers is that they were able to win without getting anything from their best player at the plate.
The 2022 Major League Baseball season will be forever remembered for its record-breaking performances. We saw Miguel Cabrera reach 3,000 hits, Albert Pujols hit his 700th home run and the single-season American League home run record get shattered by Aaron Judge.
Here are our #HighFive record-breaking bros of 2022.
Aaron Judge Erases Roger Maris: 62 Home Runs
Being in Globelife Field on the night of October 4th is something that I will never forget. To leadoff the second game of a double header, Aaron Judge launched his 62nd home run of his season off Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco. In doing so he passed Roger Maris American League record of 61, which he broke 61 years ago in a make-up game on the final day of the season.
Judge hit 62 in game 161 in what was a make-up game as well due to the lockout to begin the season.
Although Judge fell just .005 points away from winning the American League Triple Crown, he led baseball in almost every offensive category and should be the American League MVP.
Dusty Baker Gets Win 2000
Dusty Baker became the first Black manager and just the 12th All-Time to reach 2,000 wins with a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on May 4th. Baker ended the season with 2,093 wins, putting him 9th on the All-Time wins list and is now just 32 wins away from passing former Yankee manager Joe McCarthy for 8th All-Time. Bakers’ Astros are the number one team in the American League and have a first round bye for the playoffs.
They will take on the winner of the Mariners vs Blue Jays series in next week’s ALCS.
Marcus Semien Goes 20/20/Gets Seven Hits In Doubleheader
Marcus Semien broke out of his slump to begin the season in a big way. During a double header on June 7th Semien became the first player since Joe Morgan in 1973 to record seven hits including three home runs on a calendar day. He finished 7-for-8 with three RBI, four runs scored and also stole two bases to help Texas split the double header. Semien’s turnaround at the plate from his first few months of the season is one of the more underrated stories in baseball.
He led the Majors in games played and at-bats and was second among second baseman in RBI (83) triples (5) and OPS (.734). He also has the first 20-homer, 20-steal season of his career.
Hunter Greene Throws Triple Digit Flames At Historic Rate
Hunter Greene, better known to us as Major League Baseball’s gas king won that crown on September 17th when he threw a record 47 pitches over 100 MPH. That is the most pitches thrown over 100 MPH in a single start in the stat cast era. What is even more impressive about Greene’s outing is it was his first game back from a six-week stint on the Injured List.
Greene also struck out a career-high 11 batters that night in six shutout innings on four hits against the now National League Central champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Dave Roberts/ Mookie Betts
One of two Black managers to ever win a World Series and the best player in the National League helped lead the Dodgers to a franchise record 111 wins in 2022.
Dave Roberts does not get the credit he deserves for steering the most expensive ship in the Majors towards success. The addition of Freddie Freeman to go along with Mookie Betts and Trae Turner immediately made the Dodgers the biggest threat in the Majors and they carried the title of best record for a good majority of the year. Mookie Betts, who was the head DJ for 111 clubhouse celebrations, had himself a career year.
He ranks fifth in the National League in home runs, (35) six in OPS, (.873) second in slugging percentage, (.533) and he trails just Aaron Judge for the most runs scored in the Majors (117). His 35 homers and 35+ doubles were historical in that it was the first time an LA Dodgers player reached those marks since Duke Snider in 1954.