Baker not the first to return to bench after time off
Over the last few years, the trend throughout baseball has been to hire young managers with little to no experience. Some of the Majors' most recent managerial hires had never managed a game at any level before; some lacked coaching experience entirely.
The Nationals bucked that trend in a big way on Tuesday, hiring Dusty Baker as their new manager. Baker, 66, has spent 20 years as a big league manager. He's served as the skipper for three different clubs and managed in three different decades.
Baker's age and experience make him somewhat of a rarity in today's game. Among the active ranks, only the Giants' Bruce Bochy has spent more time as a big league manager. Only the Mets' Terry Collins is older than Baker -- and only by a few weeks.
But Baker's return to the dugout -- at his age, after two years off -- is not without precedent. Here's a look at eight other managers who have made a similar transition back into the manager's office.
Let's start with Collins, once again Baker's contemporary. He took the Mets' job in November 2010, 11 seasons after resigning as the Angels' manager in September 1999. Collins was 61 when he took the job, and he'd spent the previous year working as a Minor League field coordinator for the Mets.
Collins has put together a 394-416 record with the Mets. This year represented an obvious turning point as the Mets reached the World Series, and Collins was rewarded with a two-year contract extension on Tuesday.
Like Baker, Johnson was called back into the dugout by the Nats. After managing for the Mets in the 1980s and the Reds, Orioles and Dodgers in the '90s, Johnson moved from the Nationals' front office into the manager's office in June 2011. He was 68 at the time.
Johnson led the Nationals to a 224-183 record before stepping back into a consulting role. The Nats went 98-64 under Johnson in 2012, winning the National League East before falling to the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.
McKeon technically did this three times after the age of 60. In 1997, at 66 years old, the longtime baseball man took over as the Reds' manager. He went 291-259 with Cincinnati over the next four seasons.
He was relieved of his duties after the 2000 season. He returned three years later with the Marlins, winning NL Manager of the Year honors and leading the Marlins to a World Series championship. He managed two more years with the Marlins before stepping down, but he returned again at the age of 80 to replace Edwin Rodriguez in Miami in 2011. Overall, McKeon posted a 281-257 record in four seasons with the Marlins.
Piniella was the Devil Rays' manager from 2003-05. After a year off, he signed on with the Cubs after the 2006 season at the age of 63. Piniella won two division titles with Chicago before resigning in 2010. Overall, Piniella went 316-293 in parts of four seasons with the Cubs.
Leyland spent 11 seasons with the Pirates from 1986-1996. He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, lost 108 games there the next year and managed the Rockies in 1999. He spent the next six years as a scout before taking over the Tigers managerial gig in October 2005, when he was 60 years old.
Leyland spent the next eight seasons in Detroit, leading the Tigers to a 700-597 record with two American League championships.
This trend reaches back a number of years -- back far enough to include the manager who succeeded Baker in San Francisco. Alou managed the Expos from 1992-2001. He wasn't out of baseball in 2002, but he was out of the manager's chair, instead serving as the Tigers' bench coach.
He returned in 2003 as the Giants' manager, at 68 years old, and won 100 games in his first season. Overall, he went 342-304 in four years with the Giants.
After a 12-year run with the Yankees that included seven World Series championships, Stengel took a year off in 1961 and returned to manage the expansion Mets in 1962 at the age of 71.
Stengel spent three years with the Mets and retired midway through his fourth season, leaving with a combined record of 175-404.