Bochy's unretirement key to GM's 'perfect storm'

November 2nd, 2023

PHOENIX -- Bruce Bochy thinks that last year's World Baseball Classic qualifiers were the first time he realized how much he missed the game.

Born in Bussac-Forêt, France, with a military father, Bochy was managing the French national team as they attempted to qualify for the WBC. It was for fun, he said, but he still wanted to help them qualify. Then it hit him.

“I was in Ravensburg, Germany, in the dugout last year, last October, and I said, ‘Man, I really miss this,’” Bochy explained. “I never called anybody. I just said, ‘This is something that I love to do and I miss it.’ Then, when CY [Rangers GM Chris Young] called me to get my appetite on doing this, we talked. And long story short, I'm here. But that's kind of where it started.”

Young called Bochy last October, as the Rangers sat at home after the completion of a 94-loss season. Young remembers playing for Bochy in 2006, when he was in his first season pitching for the Padres. He knew the type of manager Bochy was, but also the type of person and leader. That was exactly what Texas needed.

Bochy wasn’t going to come out of retirement just to say he did it. It had to be a compelling reason and situation. After hours and hours of talking to Young and Rangers owner Ray Davis, both on the phone and at his house in Nashville, Bochy realized Texas was the perfect place for him.

And now, in their first year back together in baseball, Young and Bochy together have delivered the first World Series championship to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, after the Rangers defeated the D-backs, 5-0, in Game 5 of the 2023 Fall Classic.

“Did I think I'd be sitting here in the World Series the next year?” Bochy said of his decision to come back. “I mean, I knew that this organization was on the rise. I was getting in the right situation. They wanted to get winning baseball back to Texas. But to imagine I'd be sitting here, no. I know how blessed I am.

“It's special. I'm not going to lie. It's special to come here in my first year with a team that was determined to play winning baseball and had never won a championship. But as far as me, that's a byproduct of what those guys did out there and what the front office did. I was along for the ride, trust me. I was very fortunate and blessed to be able to get back into baseball in this type of a situation.”

Young became just the third person since 1950 to win a World Series as both a player and a general manager, joining Johnny Murphy and Stan Musial. Young won a ring with the 2015 Royals.

Bochy became just the fourth manager in MLB history with four or more World Series titles, joining Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel (7), Connie Mack (5), Walter Alston (4) and Joe Torre (4). He’s just the third manager to win a World Series with both an American League and National League team.

Despite historic nights personally, both were focused on the history of the team and the people surrounding them that allowed them to reach this point.

“It's really overwhelming because of what those men accomplished,” Bochy said. “I did run into Joe Torre a couple of days ago at the hotel and got to speak with him. I mean, what he did, the championships.

“But you look at that and you know that you're benefiting from so many people, wells dug by others. And for me, to get into this situation, again, very fortunate. But to mention those names, I never thought in my wildest dreams when I started managing that I'd be in this position.”

Bochy’s reputation precedes him, but Young, a first-time executive, assembled a roster of players that thrived with their backs against the wall all season long. It was more than just Bochy or Young, but a combination of it all.

“It was a perfect storm,” said designated hitter Mitch Garver. “We needed [Bochy] at that time he came in, brought us all together. We have the tools, but he had the leadership. That's what it was.

“Yeah, it was a perfect storm. If we don't win this World Series this year after making it as far as we did, it would be an absolute gut punch. We did it, and it all comes down to the group that we had when we brought up guys we needed, we signed guys we needed -- and it's only going to get better.”