In 1983, Bakula (having previously appeared as a standby) made his Broadway debut playing Joe DiMaggio in Marilyn: An American Fable. His television debut came in commercials for Canada Dry and for de-caffeinated Folgers coffee.
His performance in the Broadway musical Romance/Romance and subsequent Tony Award nomination helped him win the lead role opposite Dean Stockwell in the critically acclaimed television series Quantum Leap. In this science fiction series, Bakula played the time traveler Dr. Sam Beckett who was trapped by a malfunction of his time machine to correct things gone wrong in the past. His performance in this program would earn him a Golden Globe award (along with three nominations) and four Emmy nominations for Best Actor. Low ratings for this series caused its cancellation in 1993.
In 1998 he played the aging veteran pitcher Gus Cantrell in the movie Major League: Back to the Minors the final movie in the Major League (film) trilogy. He also played Jim Olmeyer, partner of Sam Robards' Jim Berkley, in the Academy Award-winning American Beauty in 1999.
As Captain Jonathan Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise, Bakula played the captain of Earth's first long-range interstellar ship, a ship of exploration which was later converted into a warship in order to defend Earth's interests. In 2006, Bakula reprised the role of Jonathan Archer for the Star Trek Legacy PC and Xbox 360 video games as a voiceover.
Bakula starred in the musical Sheandoah, a play which also provided his first professional theatrical role in 1976, at Ford's Theatre, in 2006. Bakula is heard singing "Pig Island" on Sandra Boynton's children's CD Philadelphia Chickens, which is labeled as being "For all ages except 43."
Some of Bakula's other musical appearances include the Hollywood Bowl in 1996 and 2004, Carnegie Hall, a benefit performance of Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle in 1995, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1993 and 2003, in honor of Sondheim and Carol Burnett, respectively. In 1997, he voiced Danny Cat in Cats Don't Dance, a high rated, but little-known, animated movie, singing in one number with Natalie Cole.
Scott Bakula married Krista Neumann in 1981. The couple had two children, Chelsy (b. 1984), Cody (b. 1991 - adopted) and divorced in 1995. In 1996, he began a relationship with actress Chelsea Field and the couple have two children: Wil (b. 1996) and Owen (b. 1999). Scott is an expert gymnast.
The surname Bakula is very common in Croatia and very rare in Czech Republic. During the premiere of first season of Star Trek: Enterprise in Croatia, some Croatian newspapers, like Slobodna Dalmacija, wrote a few interviews with Croatians named Bakula, especially with people from Dalmatia and Herzegovina, as a part of efforts to determine Scott Bakula's origin. On the other hand, many Croats have lived in the Czech Republic for centuries, and it is possible that Scott's ancestors are among them.