Dodgers History: Dusty Baker and the Birth of the High-Five

As the world practices social distancing amidst the Covid-19 scare, the staff and contributors at Dodgers Nation are looking forward to a time when we can all gather together again at Chavez Ravine to cheer on our Boys in Blue.

When that day finally comes, we’ll cheerfully celebrate every Belli home run and Kershaw strikeout with endless high fives. In doing so, we’ll pay homage to a piece of Dodgers history that dates all the way back to 1977.

On the final weekend of the 1977 regular season, fans watched anxiously with hopes that the Dodgers would become the first team in MLB history with a quartet of players reaching 30 home runs in a single year.

Dusty Baker remained the final piece of the puzzle with Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith having already reached the milestone.

Finally, on October 2, 1977, in the final game before the playoffs, Baker ripped his 30th home run of the season.

Waiting for Baker in the on-deck circle was Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke, who in celebration of the team feat raised his hand high in the air. As chronicled in the ESPN 30 for 30 short titled “The High Five,” Baker, unsure how to respond, slapped Burke’s hand and the high-five was born.

While Burke would controversially be traded to the Oakland A’s the next season, the celebration became a Dodgers’ mainstay and a part of their advertising strategy in the following seasons.

As many already know, the high-five has since grown and is now one of the most popular means of connecting with others in an exciting fashion.

So as Dodgers fans remain quarantined in their homes, we encourage you to look towards happier times when we can all be together again.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to honor Dodgers history with high-fives all around in celebration of a 2020 World Series Championship.

Until then, let us know below who you’re looking forward to giving a high five to sometime soon!

Kellan Grant

I’m currently a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and I have a passion for sports journalism. I grew up in the LA area and am a diehard fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, Kings. My favorite Dodgers memory was watching Kershaw tear up after the team won the 2017 NLCS and advanced to the World Series for the first time in his career. After college, I plan on either pursuing a career as a sports journalist or working in sports law.

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