Darren Baker to forge own legacy with Nats

Four years later, manager Dusty's son drafted by Washington again

July 13th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- In 2002, Darren Baker, son of Giants manager Dusty Baker, went viral before we even knew what that meant. The 3-year-old Darren was serving as a batboy during Game 5 of the World Series when he ran out to home plate to grab Kenny Lofton's bat after he ripped a two-run triple. San Francisco slugger J.T. Snow scored from third on the play, then scooped up the toddler as David Bell came home from second, helping to narrowly avoid a collision.

Years have passed since that moment -- Dusty moved on to manage the Cubs, Reds, Nationals and now the Astros -- and son Darren is no longer that little boy. On Monday, he was the 10th-round pick of the Nats in the 2021 MLB Draft.

“You look at dad, and you're thinking, ‘OK, well, Darren is gonna fill out, we're gonna wait for him to fill out a little bit,’” said Kris Kline, the Nationals' assistant general manager and vice president of scouting operations. “When he gets out in pro ball, I would love to see if he can just master the ability to drag bunt -- maybe do that once or twice a game. Get 10, 15, 20 extra-base hits, and utilize his best asset, which is his speed.”

In 2017, Washington drafted Darren in the 27th round out of high school. But the 18-year-old chose to pursue a collegiate career, attending and playing for the University of California-Berkeley. Dusty was the Nationals' manager at the time, and he knew his son was going to play college ball. Darren wanted to improve and move out of his father’s shadow.

Though Baker and the Nationals parted ways at the end of that season, Washington’s scouts kept their eye on Darren.

“This is one player we've seen for a long, long time,” said Mark Baca, the Nationals' assistant director of amateur scouting. “Obviously, you got bloodlines there, but he's a really good player. [He’s] intelligent; you watch him play on the field. So that's a big trait. He [has] tools, is very versatile. We really liked the player. Everything about the way his clock works. Great instincts.”

Darren Baker has said before that he wants to make a name for himself -- not wanting his legacy to just be Dusty Baker’s son.

Sure, he will forever be that little kid who had 30 seconds of fame during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, but Baker and the Nationals hope he creates some new October baseball moments during his playing career.