Dusty Baker: A History of Beanball

Sitting out in left field last night, it was hard for us to tell whether or not the latest round of Pirates-Reds beanball was intentional.

Sam LeCure, who hadn’t hit a batter in the last calendar year (September 21, 2012 until last night, September 20, 2013), drilled Andrew McCutchen with an 87 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Draw your own conclusions:

Andrew McCutchen HBP Sam LeCure

Looking at it now, it’s stupid for that to be intentional based on the situation. But knowing Reds’ manager Dusty Baker‘s history, it’s not hard to believe.

Former Bucco pitcher and current ROOT Sports analyst Kent Tekulve had some pretty revealing information on the postgame show last night about the 64-year-old manager:

Andrew  McCutchen Dusty  Baker Pirates Reds Beanball

The most telling line there is, “Dusty has had this ‘reputation everywhere he’s been.'”

This crap really does go back for years. Back in 1995, Don Baylor‘s Rockies and Dusty Baker’s Giants got involved in a little beanball war. In a situation that was “inappropriate for any kind of ‘message’ pitch”, Colorado star Larry Walker was plunked right on the elbow. Interesting, a situation that doesn’t make sense to hit someone? Oh, just like last night.

Anyway, Dusty did his typical postgame routine that night in ’95, saying “That pitch was just barely inside. Every time a guy gets hit, people want to know what I think. I’m tired of the questions, that’s what I think. It’s like everybody’s coming out to see a fight now, not baseball.” So, yes, even 18 years ago he was spewing this kind of garbage.

When Dusty’s Giants drilled Sean Casey with a retaliatory fastball in April of 2002, Casey was understandably upset and had it completely right: “Forget the baseball part. This is about life… Enough is enough. I’ve got a little kid at home and a wife. Sometimes you have to take care of things yourself.”

All Dusty said was that no one could possibly be throwing at Casey because he’s “one of the most likable guys in the league.” Oh, making an excuse for hitting a certain player? Funny, after last night’s game, he distributed the same crap: “McCutchen doesn’t do anything to warrant you to hit him. All he does is play, and he’s a great player.”

Baker did the same thing in June of 2012 when his relief pitcher, Sean Marshall, plunked Mets’ star David Wright in retaliation of a Joey Votto HBP… “You can perceive anything you want to. [Wright] is a heck of a player. He’s 4-for-6 off Marshall, so evidently nothing else has worked.”

This is a guy who was warned by the league in 2003 for beanball. But at the same time, he’s never going to admit anything…


“It’s an unwritten rule that even if a pitcher throws at an opposing player, no one admits it.

“If you do that you’re in serious trouble,” Baker said. “It’s not unwritten. If it starts off unwritten, it won’t remain.”


Baker had apparently been calling for his pitchers to throw at Derek Lowe for years; Lowe lashed back last June: “Dusty will deny it. It has everything to do with him. You can go ask him. He’ll deny it like he has no idea. They’ve been trying to do this [stuff] for years… I have zero respect for the guy…”

He’s known to deny it. Nothing’s going to change. Baker offered the same B.S. in the clubhouse after last night’s game. It’s a tired act and Dusty’s going to keep playing his little games.

The guy is a clown… He wanted Matt Garza and Johnny Cueto to fight each other in June after the Cubs and Reds started playing beanball:

“I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that.”

Maybe he just wants to see a fight, huh? Great.

The Pirates retaliated back in June with Charlie Morton plunking Shin-Soo Choo

Morton hits Choo

But evidently that didn’t send a strong enough message to Dusty and the Reds. They’ll keep doing what they’re doing and try to bully the Pirates. That’s fine – all the Bucs need to do is win. That’s all. Send a message if you want to, but do what you gotta do to win the game.

Go Bucs

One thought on “Dusty Baker: A History of Beanball”

  1. Thanks for providing all this history and background. Checked the other blogs, Twitter feed, etc, and yours was the only site that laid this out so clearly. My husband and I were at the park last night, enjoying the game up until those final, disastrous innings. I really think the turning point was when Cutch was hit, as the tone of the game changed after that. With a 5-2 lead going into the 9th, though, we didn’t think it could fall apart so badly. Lots of places to put the blame – individual players, management decisions, good luck/bad luck. But every time the Reds deliberately abuse us – AND GET AWAY WITH IT – I think the morale of the entire Pirates team suffers. And, with it, their playing.

    We were too demoralized to listen to the post-game on the ride home. Wish now we had – would have loved to hear Teke’s comments that you provided in the tweets above. Hope tonight’s game brings out all that the Pirates can be – and makes Dusty Baker swallow that damned toothpick.

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