Dusty Baker once smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix
Long before he was a Major League Baseball player and manager, Dusty Baker was into music.
The former two-time All-Star grew up in a household with parents who loved music, and he too fell for the blues. In light of his music-loving side, Baker has written a memoir called “Kiss The Sky” about his experience attending the famous 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which featured legendary performers such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The New Yorker’s Charles Bethea promoted the memoir with an excerpt and interview with Baker. Among the gems shared in the feature is that Baker once smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix.
The marijuana dalliance with the musically gifted one came a year after the music festival, shortly after Baker made his MLB debut with the Braves.
The summer after the Monterey Pop Festival, Baker was briefly called up to the Braves, the first of his nineteen seasons as a professional ballplayer. After his first stint in the bigs, Baker writes, he ran into Jimi Hendrix on the streets of San Francisco one night and, having abandoned the “no grass” rule, smoked a joint with him. (He’s mum about the words they exchanged, if he remembers them.) All of this by nineteen.
The “no grass” rule was a reference to a rule Baker and his buddies had in place when they attended the festival, not wanting to jeopardize their athletic futures.
So by the age of 19 Dusty Baker had already recorded two hits in the Major Leagues and smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix. Most people don’t come close to accomplishing those kinds of feats in an entire lifetime.
Most of this cool anecdote should not surprise us. Baker has always seemed like a down-to-earth, friendly guy. Heck, even his own players have said that he was maybe even too friendly as a manager. Maybe that’s just because he was able to relate to them so well.
Bottom line: Dusty can definitely hear Jimi.