MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Baker's journey to be chronicled in Network doc

Baker's journey to be chronicled in Network doc

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker managed some good teams over the years, but he calls the 2016 Nationals the most talented team he's had. It helps that the team has outfielder Bryce Harper and right-hander Max Scherzer on the roster.

As Baker prepares for his first season in the nation's capital, MLB Network will premiere "Dusty: A Baseball Journey," hosted by Bob Costas and premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

Baker has accomplished quite a bit during his 50-plus years in professional baseball. The one-hour program details the impact his father, Johnnie B. Baker Sr., had on his life, and the difficulties attending an all-white high school in Sacramento County, Calif.

It also looks into the relationship between Baker and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, including Aaron mentoring a young Baker and their bond over Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run. It's obvious Baker credits Aaron for his success in baseball. The day Aaron broke the record was vivid in Baker's memory. Before facing Dodgers left-hander Al Downing, Aaron told Baker what Downing was going to throw before he reached the plate. Aaron ended up breaking the record in the fourth inning.

"He knew what was coming all the time," Baker said about Aaron. "He would tell me, 'If you feel it, believe it. You will never be a great hitter until you learn to trust your feelings.' He said, 'Al Downing is going to do this and that during game time.' That's what he did."

The program also highlights Baker's years with the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Reds. Former manager Tommy Lasorda and former teammates Ralph Garr, Steve Garvey and Rick Sutcliffe highlight Baker's rise to becoming a two-time All-Star and World Series champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baseball broadcasters Pat Hughes and Duane Kuiper cover Baker's managerial career and his unique ability to connect with star players such as Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr. and Joey Votto.

Baseball isn't the only thing that occupies Baker's time. He is a rock 'n' roll fan. The documentary highlights his friendship with Elvin Bishop. Life away from baseball is also covered, with Baker sharing stories about meeting guitarist Jimi Hendrix and his passion for his wine business, Baker Family Wines.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.