Among the distinguished visitors who have dropped by Leo is Dusty Baker, a three-time National League manager of the year and an All-Star outfielder during his playing career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Baker, a friend of Leo President Dan McGrath, spoke to Leo’s student body while he was in Chicago with the Cincinnati Reds, whom he managed from 2008-2013. The Reds won two division titles and made three postseason appearances in his six seasons. He also managed the Cubs to a division title in 2003, and went to the playoffs three times with the San Francisco Giants, including the 2002 World Series.
Baker played with the Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves, the Giants and the Oakland Athletics over 16 seasons, appearing in the three World Series. When he signed with the Braves out of high school, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron promised Baker’s mother, Christine, that he would look after her son, and he did — Baker and Aaron remain close friends.
Baker talked baseball and took questions from Leo students during a school assembly, but he also discussed growing up in the turbulent ‘60s, when racial tensions and the Vietnam war divided the country. He urged the young Lions to be their own men and make their own decisions, but to remain receptive to the wisdom of their elders.
“I’ve never been afraid to pray on a decision,” he said, “or to seek advice from older, wiser people like my dad and Hank Aaron.”