Lyle Spencer

Bochy, Scioscia writing legacies few can claim

Bochy, Scioscia writing legacies few can claim

SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball's two most enduringly successful managers are matching wits and shifts this weekend. The Giants' Bruce Bochy and the Angels' Mike Scioscia came into their Interleague series with a combined 37 managerial seasons, 2,969 wins, 14 postseason appearances and four World Series championships.

Stable, tough-minded, creative and intuitive, they were catchers as players before paying coaching dues and producing contender after contender as managers, Bochy in San Diego and San Francisco, Scioscia in Anaheim. There was baseball in California before they arrived as players and National League rivals -- Bochy a backup for the Padres, Scioscia starring for the Dodgers -- but you probably need to find a book to recall it in any detail.

Mutual respect abounds with these well-grounded gentlemen who have guided seven clubs apiece into postseason competition.

"I certainly have that for him," Bochy said. "I can't speak for Mike, how he feels, but I certainly appreciate what he's done over there. He's done a great job managing that team.

"You know, I coached him at the end of his career in San Diego, when he tore his rotator cuff. I appreciate Mike's style."

Scioscia, who led the Angels to the 2002 World Series title in seven glorious games against manager Dusty Baker's Giants, voiced his respect for the leader of the reigning World Series-champion Giants.

"I can't speak for Boch," Scioscia said, "but there aren't many people in this game I respect more than Bruce Bochy. When I was ending my career with the Padres, he was starting his coaching career, and I could see then he was a really bright guy with a future.

"He's done as good a job as any manager who's ever put on a uniform -- even going back with the Padres. He's a Hall of Famer, for sure. He deserves it. I think he's one of those guys ... everyone understands what he's about and how hard he's worked to get where he is."

In his 10th season with the Giants and 21st as a Major League manager, Bochy is 17th all-time with 1,627 wins. Twelve of the 16 men with more victories are in the Hall of Fame. Only Gene Mauch, Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland and Baker are among those ahead of Bochy and have not been inducted into Cooperstown.

Scioscia, in his 16th season with the Angels, is the longest-tenured manager in one locale. He is 30th all-time with 1,342 victories.

Bochy and Bud Black, Bochy's successor in San Diego and Scioscia's former pitching coach with the Halos, are in their 10th seasons with their current club. In a business of constant change and revolving doors, the longevity of these baseball lifers is impressive.

"Good players," said Scioscia when asked about the secret to survival under intense scrutiny and pressure. "I've been blessed to be in a situation where our expectations are very, very high. We've always had a talent level that's given us a chance to meet those expectations."

Neither Bochy nor Scioscia had an enjoyable April coming off resounding 2014 seasons, the Giants claiming their third World Series championship in five years, the Angels leading the Majors with 98 wins.

The Angels came into the weekend 11-11, chasing the surprising Astros. Any club with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the Halos' brand of high-quality pitching is capable of getting hot and soaring.

With two-fifths of the rotation (Matt Cain and Jake Peavy) sidelined and Hunter Pence mending a broken forearm, the Giants have stumbled out of the gate at 9-13. Pursuing the defending NL West champion Dodgers, the Giants have the resources, led by the great Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and Pence, to make another run.

"You can't get mesmerized with anything but the game you're playing," Scioscia said. "I don't think Boch was visualizing Bumgarner throwing that last pitch in October way back in May when they were grinding it out. You can never look too far ahead in this game."

When the teams most recently met in San Francisco, June 15-17, 2009, the Angels pulled off a three-game sweep. They came back against Tim Lincecum with three eighth-inning runs to take the finale, 4-3, after claiming the first two games 8-7 and 8-1.

Lincecum, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar (3-for-9, three RBIs) and Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt are the only players on the teams' 25-man rosters now who appeared in that series six years ago. The Angels, using a pick acquired from the Yankees in their signing of Mark Teixeira, had just drafted Trout, the kid from Millville, N.J.

Bochy could not have known that his Giants, improving that year by 16 wins to 88-74, would be setting the stage for all the great things to come the following season and again in 2012 and '14.

Players have come and gone, but the constants remain in place: two big men in the dugouts making the moves, with deep mutual admiration.

Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.