Update: Baker has indeed been hired to guide the Pirates’ farm system.
Sources: John Baker has been hired as Pirates' farm director. A former player, Baker was previously a mental skills coach with the Cubs. Diverse and interesting background.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 10, 2020
John Baker has had a much greater impact on the Cubs organization since retiring than he ever did as a backup catcher, though he did become a cult hero for his exploits on July 29, 2014. That was the night the backup catcher got the win, as Baker came on to pitch the top of the 16th against the Rockies. After holding them scoreless, he walked and eventually came home to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly. Epic.
Baker retired after that season but rejoined the Cubs as a mental skills coordinator and is currently their MLB head of applied mental skills. His work with players throughout the organization has been invaluable and it’s clear that he has a passion for what he does. Now, however, it appears as though he’ll be taking that zeal and knowledge to another organization.
According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baker “appears to be the frontrunner” to take over as the Pirates’ farm director.
Also sounds like the Pirates' farm director search is nearing its conclusion. Again according to sources, John Baker (former player and baseball ops assistant/Cubs mental skills coach) appears to be the frontrunner.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 5, 2020
This would be a particularly tough blow to the Cubs, who not only lose a valuable member of their staff but will have to watch him go to a division rival. As Pittsburgh works to rebuild from the bottom up under new GM Ben Cherington, Baker’s message of mindfulness will be integral in turning prospects into impact players in the big leagues.