The Reds fanned 23 times in their previous four games entering Saturday, which included three losses to the Cubs and Brewers. In those three losses combined, the Reds scored two runs.
"Strikeouts, you don't have a chance to do nothing," Baker said. "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play. [Striking out] was an embarrassment back in my time. It's not such an embarrassment now, it's accepted. But it makes it harder to win. Maybe I'm old, but sometimes I don't like the way the game's going."
The Reds entered Saturday with 1,144 strikeouts this season, 10th most in the Major Leagues. On Friday, the Brewers beat the Reds with three RBI singles from Carlos Gomez, none of which were hit particularly hard.
Baker remembered a player named Dave "Swish" Nicholson that he played with that was stuck in the Minor Leagues due to a high strikeout count.
"There were guys that got sent to the Minors for striking out," Baker said. "I played with a guy named Dave Nicholson, "Swish" Nicholson that's why he got the name Swish. Built like Mickey Mantle. I played with him in the Minors, I couldn't believe this guy was in the Minors Leagues. In my first year at Double-A I called my dad and I said, 'Dad, [if] this guy is in the Minor Leagues, I'll never make it to the big leagues.'"
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.