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“It’s Amazing..”: Years Before Giants Tenure, Barry Bonds Formed a Miraculous Connection With Iconic Houston Astros Manager

Published 09/01/2023, 11:08 AM EDT

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Controversies move side by side when it comes to Barry Bonds. The legendary former baseball player found all the good during his career but had enough negatives. His opposition to the world was primarily a result of his inflexible nature, characterized by a conservative yet rebellious personality. And because of it, he often conflicted with his teammates and managers, including Dusty Baker.

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But even after that, the two shared a great relationship, all thanks to the close ties between the Baker and Bonds families. The book Barry Bonds: A Biography (Baseball’s All-Time Greatest Hitters) gives the detailed story that made Bonds Baker’s student years before his MLB debut.

Barry Bonds and Dusty Baker’s Relationship Beyond the Field


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Notably, Dusty Baker knew Barry Bonds even before he shined in the MLB. This connection was rooted in their family ties and Baker’s deep admiration for Bobby Bonds, who happened to be Barry’s father. As Bonds’ mother used to babysit Dusty Baker, he grew closer to Bobby and picked him as an idol. He tried to imitate what Bobby did.

On page 33, Author John Bloom describes this as, “[Baker] played four sports—baseball, basketball, football, and track—because Bobby played four sports. He played linebacker because Bobby was a linebacker. He did the long jump because Bobby did the long jump. Everything that he did… athletically was because of what Bobby did.”


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And this cycle continued for years, as the ties between the two families got closer. They participated in each other’s celebration and success. It was visible in Baker’s response when Barry was born. Bloom describes it through the words of Josh Suchon, “The day that Bobby Bonds had his first son Barry, Dusty went to the hospital with his dad and held Barry in his arms. . . . For two families to be that close and then thirty years later to end up having Dusty manage Barry, to me . . . it’s just amazing.” 

The story is magical, but it seems it was written with a purpose. Having seen Bonds grow in a sporting environment, the Astros manager understood him well. It helped him counter the struggles on and off the field. The same was seen in his simple advice that calmed frustrated Bonds.

Simple Advice From Mentor Dusty Baker Helped Struggling Bonds


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With success comes scrutiny, which makes things tough for anyone. The same was the story with Barry Bonds, which frustrated him.  It happened when he struggled to counter the media scrutiny and was unhappy about it. He wanted a solution and chose San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker to guide him.

‘Changed’ Barry Bonds Rejects Respected Dusty Baker Yet Again, Calling Another His “Best Manager”

Baker, who had known Bonds for decades, comforted him with a message, “Sorry, dude, but you can’t have it both ways.” The simple message from Baker to Bonds changed his life. Bonds also managed to counter the negatives, with the guidance from Baker, who is now guiding Houston Astros in their pursuit of success.
Though Bonds and Baker are not together anymore as player and manager, their exploits and successes together will continue to guide the upcoming generations.

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Written by:

Saurabh Saini


One take at a time

Even after having an engineering background, nothing stopped Saurabh Saini from following his passion and writing about sports. With a sound knowledge of American sports, Saurabh specializes in baseball. Before joining EssentiallySports, Saurabh has written around 800 articles spanning MLB, NFL, and NHL.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj