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Baker, Washington remain longtime friends

ARLINGTON -- This weekend's rare matchup between the Reds and Rangers offered Dusty Baker an opportunity to manage against his friend Ron Washington.

The skippers, who make up two of the three active African-American managers in the Major Leagues (with Houston's Bo Porter), first were together as teammates on the Dodgers in 1977.

"He was my teammate and at that time, he was a little rookie," Baker said. "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."

Washington credited Baker for being a veteran who took a younger player under his wing.

"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 [manager] Tommy Lasorda to put me in to pinch-hit because I was talking trash. I didn't back down; I delivered.

"He bought me my first suit, and he bought me my first pair of shoes at the Major League level. 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."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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