Dusty Baker's baseball journey chronicled on MLB Network Presents


With over 50 years in professional baseball, Dusty Baker has experienced every high, every low and every in-between moment imaginable within our beloved game. And he's not done yet. Not after accepting the Washington Nationals managerial job just this past November.

Baker is a baseball lifer, some might say. And that, in part, is why his story is worth telling. But it's his remarkable journey to the big leagues, where he debuted at age 19, and the impact and relationships he's made before and during his remarkable baseball life that truly define his legacy.

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On Tuesday, Feb. 9, we'll hear the complete story when "Dusty: A Baseball Journey" premieres on MLB Network Presents at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Hosted by legendary broadcaster Bob Costas, the one-hour program takes us back to Baker's days growing up in Riverside, CA. Surrounded by three of his childhood friends, Baker also shares the struggles that went along with attending an all-white high school in Sacramento County after his family was forced to move.

His relationship with his father, Johnnie B. Baker Sr., is also chronicled. Dusty learned young that nothing would be handed to him, not even from his own flesh and blood. His father actually cut him from his youth baseball team three times for bringing a bad attitude. But we see how those setbacks and the challenges he would face throughout his formative years helped prepare him for the life and career that was to come.

After breaking into professional baseball, Baker discusses the mentoring role Hall of Famer Hank Aaron played in his life and how that helped him. Baker also shares the story of the bond he formed with Aaron following his record-breaking 715th career home run. A home run Baker would witness from the on-deck circle.

"He knew what was coming all the time," Baker said about Aaron. "He would tell me, 'If you feel it, believe it. You will never be a great hitter until you learn to trust your feelings.' He said, 'Al Downing is going to do this and that during game time.' That's what he did."

It's a difficult program to pull away from once you're invested. There's so much depth to every chapter, and even though you know where it leads it keeps you enthralled. And perhaps not everybody knows where Dusty's story has led him, at least in recent years. We learn of Baker's ventures into winemaking, which includes launching his own wine production company.

Baker is a man of many interests with a group of friends that reads like a who's who in sports and entertainment. Aaron, Tommy Lasorda and Steve Garvey, just to name a few, represent his baseball friends and on-field adversaries in the show.

And of course, the story brings Baker's journey full circle as he discusses his desire to cement his legacy with a World Series championship in Washington.

What a journey it has been, and what a journey it could be if those desires come true.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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