Prior to this season, who would have been considered the “great” coaches in baseball? Many would point to LaRussa, Torre, and maybe Bobby Cox in recent years. But, those guys are all gone. So, who would be the guys you would consider great today? I think Jim Leyland has to be on the list – considering what he accomplished in Pittsburgh, the title he won in Florida, and what he’s done in Detroit. Mike Scioscia would likely be near the top, as he has had sustained success with the Angels, and a ring in ’02. Now that the Indians have hired Terry Francona, he would likely be on the short list of great coaches, considering he was able to get 2 rings in Boston, but we’ll see how he does without one of the highest payrolls in baseball. Then there’s guys like Showalter in Baltimore, Maddon in Tampa, Baker in Cincinnati, and Washington in Texas that have been close, and many recognize how good they are at what they do – in spite of the fact they don’t have a ring.
Here’s the thing – how long would it take for you to think about who the really good coaches are in baseball today before the name Bruce Bochy would come to mind? Be honest. How long? Prior to this season, I probably would have had him somewhere in the middle of the pack. I mean, a guy wins one World Series, and it could be because he was in the right place at the right time (a la Bob Brenly in 2001). But, take a look at Bruce Bochy’s record. Four division titles and a World Series appearance . . . with San Diego. The Padres haven’t made the playoffs since Bochy left. In 6 seasons with the Giants, Bochy has led them to four winning seasons, one championship already, and he’s well on his way to a second.
If Bochy wins ring #2, he will be in elite company. Not only is it a fairly short list of managers to win multiple World Series titles, but he would join Francona as the only current managers on that list. Perhaps it’s time we give Bruce Bochy the credit he deserves for being one of the best coaches in baseball.