There is one simple reason Bruce Bochy has become the active-managerial wins leader: he cares about his players. When his players need somebody to talk to, Bochy is there. When his players are struggling at the plate, Bochy is there. When his players need a leader, Bochy is there.
"He and Bobby Cox are very similar," says Tim Hudson in an interview with Steve Wulf of ESPN. "They're players' managers, but more than that, they'll fight for you. Their goal is your goal, their passion is your passion."
Just two years after retiring as a player, Bochy began his coaching career with the Single-A Riverside Red Wave in 1989. Later that year, Bochy was granted his first managerial position with the Short-Season Class-A Spokane Indians, where he would lead them to a Northwest League championship. Bochy would spend the next five years coaching and managing throughout the minors before finally receiving his first MLB managerial opportunity with the San Diego Padres in 1995, becoming the youngest manager in the National League.
Now 40-years old, Bochy won the NL Manager of the Year award in 1996 after making all the right moves to take the Padres to just their second NL West championship. Two years later, Bochy would lead the Padres to their second NL Pennant in franchise history in 1998, where they would go on to lose to the dynasty New York Yankees in four games.
The San Francisco Giants made one of their smartest decisions by interviewing and eventually hiring Bochy prior to the 2007 season. Since then, the entire clubhouse entered into a reconstruction and the organization would undergo one of its greatest eras of all-time. This may not be news to anybody, but, of course, Bochy would lead the Giants to a dynasty of his own by winning the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
In Bochy's managerial career, he has compiled a total of five division championships, four National League championships, and three World Series championships. In his 3,382 games managed, he has a cumulative .503 winning percentage and finished in the top-7 in NL Manager of the Year award in 11 of his 21 seasons as a manager.
In a nutshell: Bochy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest Giants hero in franchise history.
So, is the great Bruce Bochy really thinking about retiring from this great game for good?
Well, not necessarily, but his time is definitely approaching. Other notable and recent managers Tony LaRussa and Jim Leyland both retired at 68-years old, while Bobby Cox ended his managerial career at 69 years-old and Joe Torre at 70-years-old. As for Bochy, he just turned age 60 in July, which is definitely approaching the common age for retirement.
A subject of concern is Bochy's heart problems as it was reported that his heart has been closely monitored in response to his father dying of a heart attack himself. Sure enough, Bochy was taken to the hospital and forced to undergo heart surgery during the 2015 Spring Training.
Just after this event occurred, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Bochy exchanged texts that hinted at the idea of retiring: "Might be God's way of telling you Flan [Tim Flannery] had the right idea," Bochy texted back, "Told him the same thing." He added a smiley face.
Look, the man has seen it all and is perhaps one of the greatest managers of all-time. He has accomplished almost as much as any other manager in the history of the game and is respected throughout baseball for his knowledge of the game and the way he handles his rotation, bullpen, and lineup card. Bochy has nothing left to prove.
Now, it is just a matter of how much longer Bochy wants to stay in the game of baseball and whether he will finally get tired of it. Bochy began his playing career in 1978 and has not taken a year off since, which means he has been either a player, coach, or manager for the past 37 years of his life. That is a whole lot of baseball.
Perhaps one of the most underrated moments of his managerial career is the fact that he has had the opportunity to summon his own son, Brett, in from the bullpen to pitch in a MLB game.
Unarguably, Bochy will be at the top of the record books for years to come and may have a statue in his remembrance outside of AT&T Park some day. He has accomplished so much in his career and whenever he decides to hang 'em up, every single San Francisco Giants player, coach, worker, and fan will give the ever-deserving standing ovation to the greatest manager in Giants history.
Just before this 2015 season, the Giants front-office extended Bochy's contract through the 2019 season, which means he has four more years left on his new contract. It will be a sad day in San Francisco, but I personally expect Bochy to be saying his farewells after the 2019 season. Until then, take advantage of the great Bruce Bochy--a class act and incredible baseball genius.