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Q&A: Dusty Baker (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday January 31, 2007 6:04PM; Updated: Wednesday January 31, 2007 6:33PM
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Cubs manager Dusty Baker with his son Darren before the start of their game against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA.  May 10, 2006.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker with his son Darren before the start of their game against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA. May 10, 2006.
Scott Clarke/WireImage.com
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SI: You were on deck when Aaron hit homers No. 714 and No. 715. Do baseball fans today appreciate his greatness?

Baker: Probably not because there was not a whole bunch of video back then. The main video you see on Hank Aaron is 714 and 715. Just like there isn't a bunch of video on Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Al Kaline and Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Roberto Clemente. If it wasn't an All-Star Game, a World Series or a monumental feat, you rarely saw them running the bases, throwing out a runner, or doing something heads up on the field. If they played today, you would really appreciate them because they would be on TV every day.

SI: If you had a vote, would you vote Mark McGwire and Bonds into the Hall of Fame?

Baker: Yeah. Everything is on speculation. Hey, man, I don't condone the use of this or that at all. But [people assume] they're guilty when they haven't really been proven guilty.Now it's guilty until you prove yourself innocent. And that's the world, period. I'm not going to put it on the media. That's the world. When we were kids, you were always told you are innocent until proven guilty.

SI: Will you have mixed feelings if Bonds breaks Aaron's record?

Baker: No, not really. Because Hank doesn't really act like he cares so why should I care.

SI: Are you interested in attending that game should Barry get to No. 754?

Baker: I don't know, man. It depends on what I have to do with my family. It depends on how much traveling I have to do (laughs). As much travel as I've done, I'm not crazy about a whole bunch of more traveling if I don't have to do it. But wherever I am I will be happy for him.

SI: Did Lou Pinella reach out to you after he was named the Cubs' manager?

Baker: No, he didn't. You want Lou to start with a fresh outlook and ideas on everything. Not how I ended or why or how I felt about this person or that person. That's not important. It's a new beginning for Lou and the organization. They have a different team.

SI: How good can the Cubs be?

Baker: They can be very good. If we had the team we were supposed to have even without the additions, we would have still been good. So it was a bad year in a lot of ways. But nobody wants to hear alibis or excuses.

SI: Where you surprised at how much money the Cubs have invested this offseason?

Baker: I don't know if surprised is the word. I mean, this is the kind of the second time this has happened in my managerial career because the same thing happened when I left the Giants. They spent a lot more money too.

SI: Which of your former players do you think would make a fine manager?

Baker: Willie McGee, Robby Thompson, Darren Lewis, Billy Swift, if they wanted to do it.

SI: Who were really good guys to manage?

Baker: There are just so may guys: People like Kevin Mitchell, Will Clark, Matt Williams, John Burkett, Moises Alou. Mike Jackson, Robb Nen, Kirk Reuter, Kenny Lofton, Ellis Burks, Mark Gardner, Kirt Manwaring, Bill Mueller. Jacques Jones, Juan Pierre, David Bell, Bobby Howry, Scott Eyre, Benito Santiago, Darren Lewis. There are just so many guys.

SI: What did they share in common?

Baker: They were guys that worked hard, loved to play, were willing to learn, had the ability to learn, and had the aptitude to retain what they learned and apply upon command. They were all jewels.

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