Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bruce Bochy - Hall of Famer?

Don't laugh... Bruce Bochy already has a pretty amazing resume as a manager. If he wins 4 more games as a manager this year, it might be time to start whispering his name around Cooperstown.

Don't believe me?
Well first of all he has already padded his resume with some solid credentials.

He took over a Padres team after the 1994/1995 strike/lockout.

Remember the Padres were a team lost in the woods after the 1984 pennant. They went through managers (Larry Bowa... Jack McKeon... Steve Boros... Jim Riggleman) and philosophies (We're all about our deep farm... no wait, we're all about signing free agents like Bruce Hurst and Jack Clark... no we're keeping our prospects... no we're trading them for Joe Carter... no we're trading Joe Carter and Robbie Alomar away...)

In his second season (1996) and just three years removed from the 1993 101 loss firesale debacle, Bruce Bochy had the Padres back in the post season as National League West Champions, beating the defending Division Champion Dodgers on the last day of the season.

We won manager of the year that year.

In his fourth season, 1998, he beat out two 100 win teams in the post season (the Astros and the Braves) and stormed into the second World Series in the history of the franchise. Granted, beating the 114 win Yankees was a BIT too much to ask, but he became a World Series manager.

The Padres dismantled again, running off 5 straight losing seasons and making Bochy's future uncertain. But the Padres and Bochy stuck together and by 2004 they were winners again.

By 2005 he had the Padres back in the playoffs (granted with the single worst post season team I have EVER seen). In 2006 they were legit and had home field advantage in the Division Series as back to back champs.

Only Trevor Hoffman played on all four division winners for Bochy. The turnover of talent from 1996 to 1998 was tremendous... as was the turn over from 2005 to 2006. Bochy remained the steady force.

He came over to the Giants, a team whose philosophy seemed to be "Hey! People are showing up to see Barry... so why bother putting a good team on the field?"

He had nothing to work with, especially after Bonds retired after 2007. But by 2009 they were winners again... and now, counting his two rebuildings in San Diego, has built his third division champion from the ground up.

Manager of the year... turns teams around... multiple playoff trips... pennants with two different franchises...

That sounds like a GREAT manager's resume.
All he is missing is the ring.

If he wins a World Series title this year... and do what teams featuring Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Perry and Bonds could never do... and do it with a cut and paste line up... do it defeating the much heralded Phillies... then what else does he have to prove?

Yes you can point to a sub .500 career record. But also remember that he managed the Padres who had firesales under his watch... and took over a rudderless Giants team that was looking to shake off their Bonds identity.

Bochy could be giving them the identity they've been seeking since they played at Seals Stadium: World Series Champion.

And then the consideration for Cooperstown will need some good long thought.

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