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Washington credits Baker for showing him leadership

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington played just 10 games with Reds manager Dusty Baker, but he credits Baker for pushing him to become a clubhouse leader as a player.

"I made sure everything went right in the clubhouse," Washington said. "I learned that all from Dusty Baker."

Washington made his Major League debut with the 1977 Dodgers, who featured Baker and manager Tommy Lasorda. Washington played just 10 games, but he said Baker bought him his first suit and pair of shoes at the Major League level.

"I talked trash," Washington said. "It didn't matter where I was because I had confidence I could play. They liked that. They would challenge you, which Dusty did. He would yell out in the dugout for Tommy Lasorda to put me in to pinch-hit because I was talking trash. I didn't back down; I delivered.

"He taught me how to act in the clubhouse. He taught me how to be a pro. I was a pro, but I was one of those with loose lips because that's the way I was brought up. They knew I could play."

Washington went 7-for-19 in those 10 games with a stolen base and two strikeouts.

"He was my teammate and at that time, he was a little rookie," Baker said Friday. "I'm proud of what he has done. He has a very good organization that he's helping to run there. Ron is in the way. He's a friend, but we've got to beat him."

Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan visited Baker before Friday's game. Baker was 6-of-42 (.143) against Ryan in his career with two home runs, three RBIs, four walks and five strikeouts. While the two don't hang out together, Baker said he liked to think Ryan paid him a visit out of mutual respect.

"I faced him many, many times," Baker said. "He threw closer than inside. Way, way inside. I was hard to hit though. We had some good battles -- the Dodgers and Astros."

Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for
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