When the Astros named Dusty Baker their manager in January 2020, the then-70-year-old was viewed by some as a stopgap to help steer the franchise through the aftermath of the sign-stealing scandal. Two years and one World Series appearance later, though, not only is he still at the helm of one of baseball’s best teams, but he’s on the precipice of history.
Whenever Houston wins its 13th game this season, Baker will become the first Black manager and the 12th overall to reach 2,000 career victories. Of the 11 who have already accomplished the feat, 10 are in the Hall of Fame. All 11 have won a World Series, the only milestone that’s eluded Baker in his marvelous managerial career.
Baker made his managerial debut with the Giants in 1993, and in 10 seasons with the club, he led it to 840 wins, three postseasons and the 2002 National League pennant. Stints with the the Cubs, the Reds and the Nationals followed, as did 1,023 more wins and six October trips. And in 2021, he became the first manager to win a division title with five different teams and the ninth to win a pennant in both leagues.
With Baker, a three-time Manager of the Year award winner, inching closer to yet another achievement, here’s a look at the other members of the managerial 2,000-win club. (Info about each manager’s 2,000th win is provided by the Elias Sports Bureau.)
1) Connie Mack: 3,731-3,948-76
2,000th win: May 10, 1926 (4,068th game)
The longest-serving manager in MLB history, Mack’s 3,731 wins in 53 seasons are almost 1,000 more than any other skipper. “The Grand Old Man of Baseball” spent three years as a player-manager for the Pirates, then in 1901, American League founder Ban Johnson asked Mack to establish the Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of a 50-year tenure that outlasted that of eight U.S. Presidents, “The Tall Tactician” led the A’s to nine AL pennants and five World Series titles.
As much success as Mack found in his career, he also endured a Major League record 3,948 losses before retiring after the 1950 season at the age of 87.
2) Tony La Russa: 2,828-2,445-4 (through April 28)
2,000th win: Sept. 10, 2003 (3,786th game)
The only active manager on this list, La Russa is in his second season of his second stint with the White Sox, with whom he got his managerial start in 1979. After leading the White Sox for parts of eight seasons, he went on to manage parts of 10 years with the A’s and 16 full years with the Cardinals. Along the way, he’s captured six pennants and three World Series titles and been named Manager of the Year four times.
La Russa is one of two skippers to win World Series in both leagues, one of 10 to win three or more and the only one to win one in three different decades.
3) John McGraw: 2,763-1,948-58
2,000th win: Aug. 5, 1922 (3,410th game)
The first member of the managerial 2,000-win club, McGraw broke into baseball as a player for the Orioles in 1891. While with the Orioles, he helped introduce the hit-and-run, the Baltimore chop and other inside baseball tactics that he later employed as the manager of the New York Giants. Under his watch, the Giants became a perennial powerhouse, winning 10 NL pennants and three World Series championships in his 31 seasons at the helm. Known as “Mugsy” or “Little Napoleon,” he was the first manager to win four consecutive pennants in either league. He also set a then-Major League record with 121 ejections.
4) Bobby Cox: 2,504-2,001-3
2,000th win: Sept. 29, 2004 (3,533rd game)
Cox’s first stint with the Braves lasted just four seasons (1978-81) and resulted in a 266-323-1 record. But after leading the Blue Jays to 355 wins in four years, he returned to Atlanta as general manager in October 1985 to oversee a farm system that laid the foundation for one of the greatest runs in baseball history. Beginning with his first full season back in the dugout in 1991, the Braves reeled off 14 consecutive division crowns that led to five NL pennants and a World Series title in 1995. A four-time Manager of the Year award winner, Cox holds MLB records for playoff appearances (16) and ejections (162). His six 100-win seasons are also tied for the most in Major League history.
5) Joe Torre: 2,326-1,997-6
2,000th win: June 7, 2007 (3,739th game)
The only Major Leaguer to record 2,000 hits as a player and 2,000 victories as a manager, Torre’s journey to 2,000 wins wasn’t always the smoothest. Over his first 14 seasons with the Mets, the Braves and the Cardinals — the same three teams he played with — Torre went 894-1,003-4 and made the postseason just one time. His luck changed, though, in 1995, when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner brought Torre back to New York as his team’s skipper.
The Yankees made the playoffs in all 12 seasons under Torre, capturing six AL pennants and four World Series championships — including three straight from 1998-2000. After leaving New York, Torre captained the Dodgers from 2008-10, winning two more division titles. When his career was said and done, the two-time Manager of the Year award winner ranked first all-time with 84 playoff wins.
6) Sparky Anderson: 2,194-1,834-2
2,000th win: April 15, 1993 (3,617th game)
Anderson had spent just two seasons — one as a player and another as the Padres’ third-base coach — in the Majors when the Reds named him their skipper in October 1969. Nonetheless, he led Cincinnati to 102 wins and the NL pennant in his rookie season of 1970, in which the Reds became widely known as The Big Red Machine. Anderson produced another pennant in 1972 before leading Cincinnati to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. He later added a third championship in 1984 with the Tigers, becoming the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues.
Over the course of his 26-year career, Anderson posted four 100-win seasons and was twice named Manager of the Year.
7) Bucky Harris: 2,158-2,219-33
2,000th win: April 17, 1955 (4,107th game)
So great were the Washington Senators’ struggles over their first two decades that they were often chided as “first in war, first in peace and last in the American League.” Hoping to change that in 1923, Senators owner Clark Griffith took a chance and named Harris, his 26-year-old second baseman, the team’s player-manager. The gamble paid off immediately, as Harris led the team to its first pennant and World Series title in 1924. Not only did Harris hit .333 and belt two home runs in the series, but he also outmaneuvered McGraw, earning the nickname “The Boy Wonder.”
Harris led the Senators to a second straight pennant in 1925, but didn’t reach the playoffs again until 1947, when he won the World Series in his debut season with the Yankees. Harris’ 29-year managerial career also included stops with the Tigers, the Red Sox and the Phillies.
8) Joe McCarthy: 2,125-1,333-29
2,000th win: April 23, 1949 (3,278th game)
A career Minor Leaguer as a player, McCarthy got his first crack as a big league manager in 1926 with the Cubs. Over four seasons, he elevated the club from last place to the NL pennant in 1929, but following a second-place showing the following year, Chicago elected not to renew his contract. The Cubs’ loss proved to be the Yankees’ gain, as McCarthy went on to help the Bronx Bombers to one of the most dominant eras in baseball history. In his 15 full seasons at the helm, the Yankees averaged almost 96 wins, captured eight AL pennants and won seven World Series championships — including four straight from 1936-39.
McCarthy — who also managed the Red Sox from 1948-1950 — still holds the Yankees’ franchise record for wins (1,460), and his seven World Series titles are tied with fellow Yankees skipper Casey Stengel for the most by any manager. His six 100-win seasons are tied with Cox for the most in MLB history.
9) Walter Alston: 2,040-1,613-5
2,000th win: July 17, 1976 (3,589th game)
Alston holds the unique distinction of being the only manager in Major League history to win 2,000 games with a single franchise. Following a big league playing career that consisted of one at-bat and 13 seasons managing in the Minor Leagues, Alston took over a Brooklyn Dodgers team in 1954 that was coming off two straight World Series losses to the Yankees. Alston’s first season ended with a second-place finish in the NL, but in 1955, he got the Dodgers over the hump, guiding them to their only World Series championship in Brooklyn. After another pennant in 1956, Alston moved with the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958. There, he led them to five more pennants and three more World Series rings before retiring in 1976 after 23 seasons.
10) Leo Durocher: 2,008-1,709-22
2,000th win: Sept. 9, 1973 (3,723rd game)
A small, slick-fielding shortstop, Durocher won two World Series titles — one with the 1928 Yankees and the other with the 1934 Cardinals — in a 17-year playing career. That included five seasons as a player-manager with the Brooklyn Dodgers, beginning in 1939. Known as “Leo the Lip” and “Lippy” for his banter with umpires, executives and players, Durocher guided Brooklyn to its first NL pennant in 21 years in 1941. Seven years and 738 wins later, he took the reins of the crosstown rival New York Giants, who he led to the 1951 NL pennant and a surprising sweep of Cleveland in the 1954 World Series. His final nine seasons were spent with the Cubs and Astros.
Durocher was notably a staunch supporter of Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball’s color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947. He was also in the third-base coach’s box for one of MLB’s most memorable home runs, Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “Shot Heard ’Round the World.”
11) Bruce Bochy: 2,003-2,029
2,000th win: Sept. 18, 2019 (4,022nd game)
The most recent addition to the managerial 2,000-win club, Bochy spent nine years in the Majors as a catcher with the Astros, Mets and Padres from 1978-87. He began managing in San Diego’s Minor League system soon after retiring, and in 1995, he took over the big league club. In 12 seasons at the helm, Bochy led the Padres to 951 wins, four NL West titles and the 1998 NL pennant. As impressive as that was, he took his success to another level after joining the Giants in 2007, ushering the club to 1,052 wins and three World Series titles.
Bochy — whose lone Manager of the Year award came in his second season in 1996 — is the only manager in Major League history to win at least 900 games with two different teams.