Bochy becomes 11th manager with 2,000 wins

Giants skipper: 'This is a number that happens because of everybody'

September 19th, 2019

BOSTON -- Bruce Bochy was driving in his car listening to sports talk radio after his first game as a Major League manager. The Padres had lost their 1995 season opener by eight runs, and the critics were not pleased with the outcome.

“The first game couldn’t have gone worse,” Bochy said. “Got boat raced. I turned on the radio on the way home and they wanted my neck. Fans were in an uproar. But that’s baseball. That one, you never forget.”

Turns out, one game does not make a manager. Bochy recounted that story from his office after winning the 2,000th game of his managerial career. The Giants defeated the Red Sox, 11-3, on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, putting an exclamation mark on Bochy’s 25th and final season.

Bochy, who earned his first managerial victory on April 27, 1995, in his second game with the Padres, became just the 11th big league manager to reach the 2,000-win milestone. He joined Connie Mack (3,731), John McGraw (2,763), Tony La Russa (2,728), Bobby Cox (2,504), Joe Torre (2,326), Sparky Anderson (2,194), Bucky Harris (2,158), Joe McCarthy (2,125), Walter Alston (2,040) and Leo Durocher (2,008), all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

As the Giants neared the final out to cement Bochy’s place on that short list, fans of both teams began to yell his name. The stadium filled with appreciation for what he has accomplished over his career.

“I’ll tell you, I was sitting there and they started chanting. I’ve never had that happen before,” Bochy said. “I had some emotions going through me during that. Really overwhelmed by it, to be honest.”

Bochy began his managerial career with San Diego, where he was at the helm for 1,926 games (951-975) over 12 seasons. He was hired as the Giants’ 38th manager in the fall of 2006, and has won 1,049 of 2,096 regular-season games since then.

Bochy, 64, decided at the start of this season that it would be his last. He won his 1,000th game with the Giants in June, joining McGraw as the only managers to achieve that feat.

“You want to do that for a manager that’s been around and given so much time to players over the last 25 years,” said , who homered off the Pesky Pole. “There’s a lot more than just winning baseball games that goes into what was accomplished tonight.”

Giants fans crowded the dugout to applaud Bochy as he walked off the field, and the players recognized their manager with a postgame celebration in the clubhouse. , who took a no-hitter into the sixth en route to his 11th win of the season, described the postgame festivities as “pretty relaxed” and “very Boch-esque” as Bochy made a speech to thank the team.

“Boch is just very appreciative of the players,” Samardzija said of his manager, who played nine Major League seasons as a catcher. “He understands the sacrifices we make. He understands the grind that we go through. He hasn’t forgotten that. It’s kind of like parenting -- the older you get, you forget about what it was like to be a kid. He hasn’t done that. … He’s just a player’s coach, which I think is the ultimate compliment.”

Bochy's managerial acumen has left a mark on two organizations. He holds the most wins in Padres franchise history (951), and led the club to National League West titles in 1996, ‘98, 2005 and ‘06.

Bochy took his success to another level when he joined the Giants. His resume with San Francisco boasts three World Series championships (2010, ‘12, ‘14), and managing four All-Star teams.

While Bochy may not have considered 2,000 wins for his career, those around the game were not surprised he reached the mark.

“I’m guessing down the road, I might have a few more wins in my pocket with him gone,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said earlier this season. “But, yeah, he’s been so big for the Giants with what he’s accomplished. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. We talk quite a bit. It’s hard not to like the opposing team when he’s over there. He’s one of the greats of all time. He’s going to go into the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so."

Added Red Sox manager Alex Cora: “I want to congratulate Bruce Bochy. Two thousand wins at this level, it’s kind of like unreal. I think everybody that gets to do this job wishes they can last that long and be able to do what he has done through his career. People focus on other stuff, but he’s a winner. Two-thousand [wins] and the rings and the ways he’s gone about the business, it’s been amazing. Congratulations.”

As players and managers inside the ballpark poured praise on Bochy, he repeatedly credited others throughout his postgame interview. Bochy has never made his storied career about himself, one reason why those who were part of his 2,000th victory wanted to celebrate it that much more.

“This is a number that happens because of everybody,” Bochy said.