After Kenny Lofton flied out to Angels center fielder Darin Erstad to end the 2002 World Series, Giants manager Dusty Baker was seen carrying his 3-year-old son, Darren Baker, from the dugout to the clubhouse. Little Darren was bawling, upset that his father lost the Fall Classic.
When Dusty saw Darren on the field, the two embraced. There wasn’t much said. A lot of things were spoken without words, according to Darren. He reminded his father of a conversation they had earlier in the day, when Darren told Dusty that the Astros were going to beat the Phillies that same day. Dusty replied, “We did it.”
“It was pretty special,” Darren said via telephone on Tuesday afternoon. “There were a lot of disappointments, uncertainty in his life. I don’t know. You put so much into something, you definitely want to get the ultimate prize. To see that was awesome.”
Darren had a blast at the parade in Houston, too. It was the first time he had been to such an event. He said he had never seen so many people in his life. Darren was standing next to Alex Bregman when a fan threw a beer toward them. He snagged it and had a swig.
“[Bergman] was calling for one. We drank and had a good time,” Darren said.
Darren became known to baseball fans as a toddler during the 2002 World Series. He was one of several batboys for the Giants and became known for what he did in Game 5 as they faced the Angels.
In the seventh inning, Loften tripled to right field. As J.T. Snow and David Bell scored, Darren ran out and tried to grab Lofton’s bat, but the ball was still in play. As he scored ahead of Bell, Snow grabbed Darren by his team jacket at home plate and snatched him up so he would not interfere on the play.
Darren doesn’t remember the incident 20 years later, but he remembers crying in his father’s arms after that World Series ended.
“I remember things like patches,” Darren said. “Kenny Lofton and Barry Bonds were my favorite players. I remember when I was crying [at the end of the World Series]. I understood, even at that age, about winning and losing. I spent every day of the year with those guys. I was disappointed for sure.
“Sadly, I don’t remember being picked up [by Snow]. I have no memory of it. If there was no video or YouTube, it was like it never happened to me. I wish I did remember. That would be pretty cool to remember something like that.”