2:53 AM ET
A few months before Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash was born, his 2020 ALCS counterpart, Dusty Baker, supposedly co-invented the high five with his late Dodgers teammate, Glenn Burke. Cash was born on Dec. 6, 1977, and Baker had been a major leaguer for a nearly a decade. The momentous hand-slap happened in the 1977 NLCS, after Baker hit a grand slam.
Baker had broken into Major League Baseball as a teammate of Hank Aaron with the Braves in the last season before divisional play, in 1968, back when you had to finish with the best record in your league to make the MLB playoffs which, at the time, was simply known as the World Series. A few years later, he was waiting on deck when Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s hallowed record.
A few months before Kevin Cash became old enough to get his driver’s license, Baker had finished his first season as a big-league manager. He led the 1993 San Francisco Giants to 103 wins, still the most of any team he’s managed over 23 seasons in the dugout. Those Giants did not make the playoffs. They’d finished a game behind Baker’s old team, the Braves, and it was the last season before baseball expanded its playoff format again.
When Baker and Cash ended up against each other in this year’s ALCS, it was an unlikely pairing of managers in many