When the San Francisco Giants and Dusty Baker parted ways in 2002, I, like most Giants fans, wondered: “where do we go from here?”
Dusty brought the Giants closer to winning a World Series title than we had been since his predecessor Roger Craig was swept in the 1989 Fall Classic by the Oakland Athletics. Felipe Alou, despite his high win-percentage, had only one win in his only post-season appearance with the San Francisco Giants.
So when Bruce Bochy took the reins in 2007, I was more excited to be a Giants fan than I had been since 2002. Bruce Bochy is an excellent manager, if you need a reference just look at what he did with the San Diego Padres. He took the Padres to the post-season in ’96, ’98, ’05, and ’06. In 1998 he coached them to their first National League pennant and their first trip to the World Series since 1984, when he was the back-up catcher there. This kind of ability to win was exactly what the Giants needed.
Now there are huge questions surrounding the Giants skipper, most intriguing perhaps, is whether or not Bruce Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager. I think he absolutely is, and I have come up with my top five reasons why Bruce Bochy will be in the Hall of Fame.
5. Bruce Bochy’s ability to manage individual situations during the game is nothing short of amazing. His inspired managerial style forces opposing coaches to play catch up to what Bruce is thinking. Watching the way he manages pitching rotations, and which relievers come in when, is like watching Bobby Fischer play chess. You know what you are seeing is special.
4. Bruce Bochy is a consummate sportsman. Rarely does his facial expression change, let alone him gloating or taunting. He also is rarely seen in an umpire’s face screaming epitaphs or insults that result in his ejection from the game. Not that he doesn’t support his players when they have been wronged (he has been tossed 20 times since 2004), but he is certainly no Bobby Cox. He picks his battles wisely, knowing that his bullpen expertise is what will ultimately win the ball game.
3. Bruce Bochy is an undeniable winner. In 2007, when he took over as the Giants manager, Bruce was coming off a playoff appearance with the San Diego Padres, who until he became their manager, were somewhat ignored as members of the National League West, with most attention going to the Giants and Dodgers. He also has more post-season wins than any Giants manager since Hall of Fame manager John McGraw, the Giants skipper from 1902-1932.
2. In 2010 Bruce Bochy led a team of “misfits” to the Giants first World Series Championship since 1954, and their first title in San Francisco. Despite being counted out every step of the way, Bochy managed the Giants to not only the division title, but also to the National League Pennant against the defending National League Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. After winning that series in six games, the Giants went on to face the heavily favored Texas Rangers in the Fall Classic. Bruce Bochy flat out out-coached Rangers manager Ron Washington, leading the Giants to a Cinderella victory over the Rangers in just five games.
1. In 2012, after a disappointing and abrupt end to the 2011 season, Bruce Bochy again led the San Francisco Giants to the postseason
Bruce Bochy has led the San Francisco Giants to two World Series Championships in 3 years, and has more post season wins, with 22, than any Giants Manager in recent history.
John McGraw led the NY Giants to three World Series titles and 26 post season wins in his entire 30 year tenure as Giants manager, which earned him a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In this writer’s opinion, humble as it may be, Bruce Bochy is a guaranteed, first ballot, lock to baseball immortality in the hallowed halls of baseball’s Hall of Fame.