Houston Astros Manager Reveals The Wild 18th Birthday He Celebrated With Jimi Hendrix

The entertainment business can sometimes seem like a small world, with even the unlikeliest of pairings having only a few degrees of separation between them. This could take the form of romantic relationships, friendships, or professional collaborations. The same is true of those in the sports world, and many of these pairings remind us that big stars and just like us — fans of pop culture icons.

CNN states that Dusty Baker became the oldest manager to win the World Series in November of 2022 when his team, the Houston Astros, beat out the Philadelphia Phillies for the championship. At 73, Baker has seen a lot both inside and outside of the sports world. Before becoming a team manager, he played on the Los Angeles Dodgers team which won the World Series in 1981. Before that, he spent a whirlwind weekend at an event unrelated to sports entirely. It involved Jimi Hendrix in the flesh.

Dusty Baker attended the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967

Dusty Baker has made and witnessed history multiple times throughout his life. He moved from Riverside, California to Sacramento when he was 15. He grew up in a family of music lovers, particularly enjoying jazz, R&B, and rock 'n' roll. He and his friends attended concerts around the northern California area. For his 18th birthday, Baker was able to travel to Monterey, California for the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. A highlight of the festival for Baker was Jimi Hendrix's performance. "He kind of scared me, to tell the truth," explains Baker in his memoire "Kiss the Sky: My Weekend in Monterey at the Greatest Concert Ever." "But at the same time, I was attracted to it."  He goes on to explain that music is perhaps more central to his identity than baseball (per Monterey Herald).

Baker was one of many mesmerized spectators at the Monterey Pop Festival. Though the lineup featured dozens of artists, Hendrix's performance at the festival went down in history, and up in flames.

Dusty Baker smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix

At the Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix grabbed the public's attention in a big way. He was on the cusp of making it big in the United States. Though he was born an raised in the U.S., he had yet to make his mark. The Who were attempting to gain fame on American soil as well. During their performance at the festival, they set off smoke bombs and Pete Townshend smashed his guitar. Not wanting to be upstaged, Hendrix followed with his band The Experience. He even played the guitar with his teeth. Then at the end of the set, he set his guitar on fire. Jimi Hendrix and the Experience immediately saw a significant jump in popularity (per Far Out).

The Monterey Pop Festival was not Dusty Baker's last encounter with Hendrix. Sports Illustrated explains that about a year after the concert, he ran into Hendrix in San Francisco and smoked marijuana with him, despite his strict rule against doing so. He is likely not the only one who would break such a rule if Hendrix was the one offering. Maybe the Minute Maid Park stadium needs to play Hendrix's version of the National Anthem for Astros games.