Bochy, Flannery reflect on friendship ahead of 1st World Series apart

October 27th, 2023

When the first pitch is fired in Game 1 tonight at Globe Life Field, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy will officially be in the middle of his sixth World Series (fifth as a manager). It will be weird, however, not having his best friend, Tim Flannery, by his side when Texas takes on the D-backs.

Flannery and Bochy were teammates with the Padres in 1984 when they took on the Tigers in the Fall Classic. Years later, Flannery was also Bochy’s third-base coach when he managed San Diego (1998) and the Giants (2010, ‘12, ‘14) to the World Series. Flannery retired after San Francisco’s third title to be close to his family and pursue a country music career.

“It’s surreal that we have [been to] five World Series together,” Flannery said. 

Although Flannery has been away from the coaching lines for nine years, his friendship with Bochy has never wavered. After the Rangers defeated the Astros in the American League Championship Series, Bochy immediately heard from his pal. 

"We've been texting a little bit,” Bochy said. “You know, I miss him. Love the man. I didn't think about [not having him with me] until you brought it up, because he's been along for the ride and I knew I couldn't talk him into going on another ride with where he's at. … But yeah, it was a nice long ride with him, but I do miss him."

Flannery and Bochy catching up in early 2022, when both were retired from coaching. Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

Pals since ’84, Bochy and Flannery met after Bochy signed a free-agent contract with San Diego to back up Terry Kennedy behind the plate. Flannery was already on the team as a utility infielder. By 1996, Flannery joined Bochy’s coaching staff in San Diego. They had a manager/coach relationship for 15 years.

“We would keep each other sharp when we were not playing every day, but we connected with all sorts of things," Flannery said. “We would hang out and we had a good group down there. We had Goose Gossage and Graig Nettles. We had some great people to learn from. We just loved hanging out off the field as well as on the field.

“The thing about Boch, though, it wasn’t like ‘He’s my friend. I’m going to make him my coach.’ He only hired coaches who worked their way up at every level. … You have to understand what he expects. He is a very demanding manager. He demands a lot out of his coaches. If you bruise easily as a coach with him, it’s not going to be your favorite thing to do unless you win. Once you win, you realize this is all part of it. He has made me a better coach. He has made teams better. He has made players better.”

Flannery will not attend the World Series because of family commitments, but he will be rooting for his buddy to win his fourth World Series title.

“I’ve seen what he does all the time in those playoff games,” Flannery said. “There is nobody better when it comes down to these types of games and in pressure situations. I’ve learned that through the years.”

Flannery said Bochy manages the game of baseball based on what his gut tells him. Bochy learned that lesson the hard way after the Padres lost to the Yankees in the 1998 World Series. It was Game 1 at Yankee Stadium, and San Diego had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but it lost the lead when New York scored seven runs that inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Tino Martinez.

Bochy was so upset during the game that he had a talk with Flannery away from the dugout and cameras.

“He was kind of convinced to go in a different direction rather than trust his gut,” Flannery remembers. “There was a tunnel that was there at the old Yankee Stadium. He was about five feet back in the tunnel after it happened and he called me in -- he was so mad at himself. He said to me, “I should have trusted my gut,” which he always did. But he went in a different direction. He said, 'If I ever get another chance, I’ll [trust my gut].'

“Once he was able to get San Francisco into the playoffs, you can just tell he was in total control of what he was going to do, and he was not going to compromise because it worked.”

It worked to the point where Bochy guided the Giants to three World Series titles. He was more than pleased to have Flannery by his side.

"It was, I mean, first of all exciting,” Bochy said. “When you have fun doing something or have some success, it's always good to share it with somebody and with us being teammates, we ended up working together on the same staff, that was cool. His family, my family would be together during that success.”

Bochy is still having fun as the field general and looks to guide the Rangers to their first-ever World Series title.

“Ever since [his success in San Francisco], I felt he was the best manager I've ever been around,” Flannery said. “As a third-base coach -- 15 years with him -- I never once received a sign from him to put on a player and I said, ‘What is he doing?’”