2012 World Series: Why Bruce Bochy Is Now a Surefire Hall of Fame Manager
In MLB history, 22 managers have won at least two championships. As you would expect, some of them are among baseball's all-time greats.
Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy top the list with seven, Connie Mack has five and Joe Torre and Walter Alston have four apiece. Next up are Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins, John McGraw and Tony La Russa, who all have three series victories in the Fall Classic.
Bochy certainly has an opportunity to win another World Series—perhaps as soon as next year. At 57 years old, he presumably will manage for many seasons to come. Staying in the dugout is surely a much easier decision while he's at the top of his game, leading one of the best franchises in the league and a perennial contender.
However, what if Bochy decided to call it a career right now after 18 seasons as a major league skipper? As his résumé stands right now, would he be considered a Hall of Fame manager? Does two championships make that automatic?
Unfortunately for Bochy, the answer is no.
Cito Gaston won two championships with the Toronto Blue Jays. Is anyone suggesting him for induction into Cooperstown? Others with a pair of titles but not in the Hall of Fame include Ralph Houk and Tom Kelly. Terry Francona is another, though his career isn't over yet.
But making Bochy's career all about how many World Series he has won is reductive. His entire body of work has to be judged. Would Bochy be considered a Hall of Famer if he hadn't won any championships?
Let's take a look at what else he accomplished in his 18-year managerial career.
Bochy has 1,454 wins as a major league manager. That total currently ranks him No. 23 all time. He's 546 victories away from 2,000, which is the managerial equivalent of 3,000 hits or 600 home runs for a hitter and 300 wins for a pitcher.
Ten managers in the history of MLB have won 2,000 games. Becoming No. 11 would put Bochy in an exclusive club. The only other two active managers who arguably have a shot at 2,000 wins are two skippers Bochy just defeated in the postseason: the Detroit Tigers' Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds.
If you wanted to nitpick, you could say that Bochy would have the lowest winning percentage (.502) of those 10 managers except for Connie Mack. But if he keeps winning the way he has—and there's no reason to think he won't—that percentage will improve. And really, is anyone going to be talking about Bochy's winning percentage if he has 2,000 wins?
Bochy has also won six division titles—four with the San Diego Padres and two with the Giants and three National League pennants. That's an impressive list of accomplishments, and it should be enough to Bochy into the Hall of Fame even if he doesn't get 2,000 wins.
However, Bochy is very likely to reach that milestone. As Giants manager, he has averaged 84 wins per season. Over his career, he has averaged 81 victories per year. If he were to keep up that pace, it would take Bochy another seven seasons to get to 2,000.
But during the three seasons in which the Giants have won two championships and finished second in the NL West, Bochy has averaged 91 wins per season. If San Francisco continues to play at its current level of performance, Bochy could get to 2,000 in six years.
Would Bochy want to manage that much longer? He's already put in 18 years, and if he gets that third championship, perhaps he'll conclude that there's not much more he can accomplish. This could of course depend on whether or not he feels he has a team that could win again.
Bochy is under contract for next season with an option for 2014. But given his success, he will probably be the Giants manager as long as he wants to be.
Like anyone else in any other profession, Bochy probably has other things he wants to do with his life. But given that he hasn't his made interests outside of baseball known to the public—if he has, please let us know in the comments—perhaps his focus on baseball is all-encompassing.
In that case, maybe Bochy does want to stay in baseball for as long as possible, and as the 2,000-win milestone gets closer, he'll want to reach that mountaintop.
However, if he is thinking about his legacy, he has nothing to worry about. The man is already a Hall of Fame manager. He could absolutely cement that legacy with another World Series title—an accomplishment that seems quite attainable. But even without a third championship, he's proven himself to be one of the best managers in recent memory.
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