|"The Giants win the pennant" are words Bruce Bochy has heard quite often. (Paul Kitagaki/Sacramento Bee)|
On Thursday, the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series to clinch their third pennant in five seasons. In doing so, the Giants became the first National League team since the Atlanta Braves of the mid-to-late 1990s to make it to the World Series three times in a five-year span. (Atlanta won pennants in 1995, 1996 and 1999.)
Bruce Bochy has managed each of the Giants’ three pennant-winning teams and has been the team’s skipper since 2007. His eight seasons at the helm in San Francisco came on the heels of a 12-year run as manager of the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2006. In those dozen campaigns, Bochy led the Padres to 951 victories, the most of any manager in San Diego's 46 years in the National League. During Bochy’s tenure in San Diego, the Padres won four division titles and the 1998 National League pennant. The other 15 managers in Padres’ history have combined to lead the team to one postseason appearance in 34 seasons (Dick Williams in 1984).
All told, Bochy has won 1,618 regular season games in two decades as a manager in the big leagues, leading his teams to seven postseason appearances, six division titles, four pennants and two World Series championships. So the question must be asked. If Bruce Bochy retired today, is he a Hall of Famer? Why don't we let his numbers answer the question?
- Bochy is one of 24 men to manage in the majors for at least 20 seasons. Seventeen of the other 23 are in the Hall of Fame.
- Bochy’s total of 1,618 victories has been surpassed by just 17 managers. Twelve of those managers are in the Hall of Fame. (By the end of the 2015 season, Bochy should pass two of those 17 managers, as he is only one win behind Ralph Houk and 53 victories behind Dusty Baker, who is not managing a big league team at the moment.)
- Bochy has led his teams to the postseason seven times, making him one of 15 managers to accomplish that feat. Ten of the other 14 are in the Hall of Fame. One of the four who isn’t in the Hall is Mike Scioscia, who is still an active manager with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
As impressive as the above accomplishments are, it doesn’t guarantee Hall of Fame enshrinement. It just makes it more likely that Bochy will someday get the call from the Hall.
However, pennants and World Series championships are what managers are most remembered for, and Bochy has had his share of those as well. If Bochy’s longevity, regular season win total and postseason appearances have improved his chances of making it to Cooperstown, then his accomplishments in October have almost certainly cemented his enshrinement. Take a look at the chart below and consider the following two tidbits.
|Rk||Mgr||Yrs||W||L||Plyof App||WSwon||PennWon ▾|
|1||John McGraw HOF||33||2763||1948||.586||26||28||.481||9||3||10|
|2||Casey Stengel HOF||25||1905||1842||.508||37||26||.587||10||7||10|
|3||Connie Mack HOF||53||3731||3948||.486||24||19||.558||8||5||9|
|4||Joe McCarthy HOF||24||2125||1333||.615||26||13||.667||9||7||9|
|5||Walter Alston HOF||23||2040||1613||.558||23||21||.523||7||4||7|
|6||Miller Huggins HOF||17||1413||1134||.555||18||15||.545||6||3||6|
|7||Tony La Russa HOF||33||2728||2365||.536||70||58||.547||14||3||6|
|8||Joe Torre HOF||29||2326||1997||.538||84||58||.592||15||4||6|
|9||Harry Wright HOF||23||1225||885||.581||0||0||0||0||6|
|10||Sparky Anderson HOF||26||2194||1834||.545||34||21||.618||7||3||5|
|11||Cap Anson HOF||21||1295||947||.578||0||0||0||0||5|
|12||Bobby Cox HOF||29||2504||2001||.556||67||69||.493||16||1||5|
|13||Ned Hanlon HOF||19||1313||1164||.530||0||0||0||0||5|
|14||Frank Selee HOF||16||1284||862||.598||0||0||0||0||5|
|15||Frank Chance HOF||11||946||648||.593||11||9||.550||4||2||4|
|16||Fred Clarke HOF||19||1602||1181||.576||7||8||.467||2||1||4|
|17||Charlie Comiskey HOF||12||840||541||.608||0||0||0||1||4|
|18||Tom Lasorda HOF||21||1599||1439||.526||31||30||.508||7||2||4|
|19||Bill McKechnie HOF||25||1896||1723||.524||8||14||.364||4||2||4|
|20||Billy Southworth HOF||13||1044||704||.597||11||11||.500||4||2||4|
|21||Earl Weaver HOF||17||1480||1060||.583||26||20||.565||6||1||4|
|22||Dick Williams HOF||21||1571||1451||.520||21||23||.477||5||2||4|
- Prior to the 2014 season, a total of 22 managers guided their teams to four of more league pennants. Did you happen to notice the "HOF" next to their names? That means all 22 of those managers are in the Hall of Fame. By earning a World Series berth against the Royals, Bochy has just become the 23rd manager to win four pennants, winning one in San Diego and three in San Francisco.
- Of the 22 managers who won four or more pennants, only nine of them won at least three World Series titles. All nine are in the Hall of Fame. With four wins against Kansas City in this year’s Fall Classic, Bochy will become the tenth manager to win three championships, doing so in just a five-year span with the Giants.
With 20 years of managerial experience, a ton of victories and more than a handful of trips to the playoffs, Bruce Bochy is certainly a viable candidate for the Hall of Fame. But now that he’s won four pennants and is within a few wins of completing his trifecta of titles, enshrinement in Cooperstown is more than just likely. It’s pretty much a certainty.
Bruce Bochy’s run as a big league manager isn’t quite over yet, but when he does decide to call it a career, he may as well pack his bags for Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame should be the last stop in Bochy’s amazing post-playing career.