For the second year in a row, a manager rather than a player was the center of attention at the end of a Major League Baseball (MLB) season.
Last year, the story of former manager Dusty Baker, who led the Houston Astros to the World Series title and earned his first championship ring in 25 years as a big league manager, dominated the headlines in the U.S. media.
This year, it’s Bruce Bochy, 68, who led the Texas Rangers to their first World Series title in 62 years.
Bochy’s Rangers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 on Oct. 2 to improve to 4-1 in the series and reach the top of the World Series for the first time since their inception in 1961.
Bochy has a World Series ring for the fourth time in his managerial career, having won in 2010, 2012 and 2014 while managing the San Francisco Giants.
He tied former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Walter Alston for the most World Series wins.
Only three managers have won more: Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy during the Yankees’ glory days (7+) and Connie Mack with the Philadelphia Athletics (5).
Joining the pantheon of legends, Bochy won his first championship in 2010, defeating Texas in the World Series.
Texas’ best years in franchise history were 2010 and 2011, when they won back-to-back American League titles. However, they were swept by the San Francisco and St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
This year, after winning the American League pennant for the third time in 12 years, Bochy, who came up short in his first attempt at the title, is now the manager of the Texas Rangers, and he’ll be able to fulfill his desire to win the franchise’s first championship.
Bochy, who stepped down as San Francisco’s manager at the end of 2019 and returned to the field after a four-year absence as the 29th manager of Texas, proved his nickname as the fall guy by winning a championship upon his return this year.
Bochy faced a number of challenges in the regular season, including elbow surgery for ace Jacob deGrom, a sore thigh for World Series MVP Corey Seager, and frequent absences due to finger injuries.
After narrowly missing out on the second American League wild-card spot and reaching the postseason as the No. 5 seed, Bochy thrived with his unorthodox short-rotation mound game.
In the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals, he brought in Game 5 winner Madison Bumgarner in the fifth inning of Game 7 with a 3-2 lead to record a five-inning save and win the title.
Breaking the mold, Bochy often uses his starters in the bullpen.
Starter Jon Gray has come out of the bullpen three times this postseason.
Korean-American right-hander Dane Dunning also made five appearances out of the bullpen in the fall, and left-hander Andrew Heaney split time between starting and the bullpen.
Perhaps because of the strong performances in the fall, even mediocre Texas bullpen arms have stepped up in the postseason.
Josh Spoth, who had a 5.50 ERA in the regular season, transformed into a perfect setup man this fall with one save, five holds, and a 0.75 ERA. Aroldis Chapman’s ERA, which was in the high 3s, was much lower at 2.25 in the fall.
Despite his “old school” style, Bochy is quick to make pitching changes based on head-to-head stats.
In 26 years, Bochy’s regular-season winning percentage is .499, less than 5%, but his postseason winning percentage is over 6%.
In particular, he is an impressive 6-0 in winner-take-all games, which means winning the final game of a series.
Despite his veteran emphasis, Bochy also has a penchant for restructuring, as evidenced by his use of rookies Josh Young and Evan Carter.
If he’s got a big-game player, he’s got a big-game coach.
Arizona manager Torey Rubello showed his respect for Bochy, telling CBS Sports, “He’s a phenomenal coach, and just to be able to stand with him as a manager in the World Series is a huge honor.” 먹튀검증