Apr 15, 2015

One Time Mets Reserve Catcher Turned Big League Manager: Bruce Bochy (1982)

Bruce Douglas Bochy was born on April 16, 1955 in Landes de Bussac, France. He is one of only eight major leaguers to be born in the country of France.

His father was a serviceman in the United States Military at the time. The Bochy's then relocated & Bruce grew up in the Melbourne Florida area.
Bochy played baseball in high school with Darrell Hammond, who later went on to act on Saturday Night Live.

Bochy was a tall six foot three inch, two hundred pound catcher that would overall spend parts of nine seasons playing in the minor leagues. After spending his first three seasons in the minors, Bochy debuted with the Houston Astros in 1978 playing three seasons as Alan Ashby’s backup catcher.

In February of 1981 he was traded to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers. Bochy arrived at AAA Tidewater in 1981 batting just .227 with 8 HRs, playing behind the teamss main catcher Rick Sweet. The next year he batted the same average but showed power, hitting 15 HRs with 52 RBIs. He became the Tides main catcher ahead of future Met Mike Fitzgerald.

Bochy had the Mets hoping they had something as he was brought up to the Mets in late August, debuting on the 21st at Fulton County Stadium, behind the plate catching veteran pitcher Randy Jones. Bochy would play that month behind Ron Hodges as the backup catcher, after John Stearns went down with an injury.

On September 5th he had his best day as a Met, getting three hits while driving in four runs in a Mets 10-2 win at Shea Stadium. In his next start he hit a HR in St. Louis, and would hit another a week later at Shea against those same Cardinals.

In 17 games as a Met, Bruce Bochy hit .306 with a .358 on base %, two HRs & 8 RBIs. He threw out nine of the 17 runners trying to steal on him posting a .961 fielding %.

Trivia: In an interesting trivia note, while playing in New York, the Mets could not find a helmet to fit his unusually large shaped head. The helmets he was using had to be sent down to the minors as he was sent down.

In January of 1983 he was released & signed with the San Diego Padres. Bochy would spend four years as the Padre backup catcher to Terry Kennedy (1983-1986) getting to the World Series in 1984. He made two post season pinch hit appearances that year, going 0-2 for manager Dick Williams.

In 1987 Bochy was back up to rookie sensation Benito Santiago, playing out his final season. In his nine year playing career he batted .239 with 192 hits 26 HRs 37 doubles a .298 on base % & 93 RBIs.

Retirement: Bochy went on to work as a coach & manager in the Padres organization. By 1995 he was named the Padres MLB club's manager. He would managed them for twelve seasons, posting five seasons of winning records. In 1998 his Padres won 97 games, won the NL Pennant & got to the World Series. In 1996 he won the Manager of the Year Award posting a 91-71 record with a .562 %.

Bochy won over 900 games with the Padres, the most in the team's history. Overall he took the Padres to four post seasons, winning four NL West titles. In 2006 Sandy Alderson, then the teams GM, allowed Bochy to be interviewed by the San Francisco Giants. Bochy decided to leave southern California & become the new Giants manager. After posing two losing seasons his Giants went 88-74 in 2009.

In 2010 he surprisingly took his team to the World Series & beat the Texas Rangers, winning his first worlds Championship. In 2011 the Giants finished second 86-76.

In 2012 he brought his team to another World Championship, with a 94-68 regular season record. In the NLDS his Giants fell behind the Cincinnati Reds two games to none. They then came back to win three straight games & advance.

In the NLCS they fell behind the St. Louis Cardinals three games to one, before coming back to a win three straight games.In the World Series they swept a mighty Detroit Tigers team four straight.

In 2013 the Giants fell to below .500  finishing 76-86 in third place.  In 2014 Bochy reched new mile stones. In August he became the 21st manager in history to reach the 1500 wins mark. Later that month, he beacme the NL West's winningest manager since divisional play began in 1969, passing Tommy Lasorda.

Meanwhile his Giants quietly starting winning more & more & won an NL Wild Card spot, finishing second (88-74) six games behind the L.A. Dodgers. In the NL Wild Card Game, the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 at PNC Park, behind the arm of Madison Bumgarner who would have an outstanding post season.

In the NLDS the Giants rallied in Game #2, after being behind in the game 1-0. They went on to defeat the Nats in Washington D.C & deflate any life they had in them, beating then three games to one advaning to yet another NLCS.

Bochy's Giants, known as "the group of warriors", went to their third World Series in five years, facing a popular young Cinderella Kansas City Royal team, thats eemed to be stealing all the headlines. The exciting World Series seemed to switch momenteum each day, as it all le up to an exciting Game #7 at Royals Kaufman Stadium.

Bochy went to the bullpen in the 5th inning after his team took a 3-2 lead. He went to his starting pitcher ace; Madison Bumgarner who went on to shut the Royals down for five innings, earning a save to add to huis impressive 2015 post season resume' going 4-1 overall with a 1.03 ERA. In the World Series he was 2-0 with a save.

Bochy enjoyed his third Championship in five years, he is one of ten managers who have won three World Championship titles, all other nine are in the Hall of Fame.

In February 2015 he was hospitalized after experiencing discomfort in his chest. He under went a procedure to have two stents inserted & returned to camp a week later.

Personally when the cameras are on, Bochy is a quiet reserved manager. But for those who know him, they say he is very outgoing & a very funny man.

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