Tracy Ringolsby

Q&A: Bochy on postseason success

Giants manager discusses trio of World Series wins

Q&A: Bochy on postseason success

Bruce Bochy refers to himself as lucky. He is in his 22nd season as a big league manager and has won three of the paqst six World Series.

It, however, takes more than luck to have sustained success. And a man who admits he never seriously thought about managing when his playing career ended laughs at the way his life has transformed.

Not too bad for someone who admits he became a manager more out of happenstance than planning.

"My last year playing in '87, I was having a hard time with the left knee, and I said, 'You know what, I think I'd like to manage,'" Bochy said. "Then the next year, I was a player/coach in Las Vegas. Right then is when I decided this is what I want to do. I still didn't know I was going to manage in the Major Leagues, but I enjoyed it in the Minor Leagues.

"But somebody has to take a chance on you, and Randy Smith did that in 1995 in San Diego. I still remember when he said, `You're my manager.' I was numb. I just couldn't believe that here I am and I'm going to be managing in the Major Leagues, and I thought about Dick Williams a lot at that time because I had played for him and he's in the Hall of Fame now. He probably is shocked right now that I'm managing."

More than that, Williams, like anyone who touched Bochy's career would be proud of what he has done.

Bochy talks about the success of his teams in this week's Q&A: Do you ever think about the fact that your accomplishments have you being mentioned along with the likes of Tony La Russa and John McGraw?

Bochy: Talking about these names, it's hard for me to imagine that I would ever be mentioned along the lines of these great managers. It is very humbling. It's a sign of longevity, but it blows me away that I have similar numbers to a lot of these great managers. You are tied for sixth on the all-time list with La Russa, McGraw, Sparky Anderson and Miller Huggins for managing three World Champions.

Bochy: That blows my mind. I revere those names so much. The more recent managers, Tony La Russa and even guys like Bobby Cox and Jim Leyland, I don't see myself in the same area. I've been blessed that I have tremendous talent to work with and the ownership to give me the resources to make this happen. Its not the manager, you're as good as your players. I guess the reality of how tough it is to win a World Series is to look at Bobby Cox. He managed 15 division champions, a record 14 in a row in Atlanta and one in Toronto, but just one World Champion.

Bochy: It shows how difficult it is. I do believe that once you get there, it can be a little bit of crapshoot. It takes a little luck. To do what Bobby Cox did in Atlanta and win all those divisions and dominate for a decade like the Braves did, that's amazing. Then you look at what we did. We have won three championships in the past six years. I don't want to put too much in the luck, because these guys earned it and they deserve it. How does it feel to have won three World Championships and 42 postseason games, fifth all-time?

Bochy: It wasn't like I had a a good start. Going back to '96, I was with San Diego and we won our first division title, and we had a hard time getting through St. Louis. But since I've come up to San Francisco, it's kind of flip-flopped for me. Again, it just shows you how good we are. I don't think this club gets enough credit for how good we have been the past six years. Even last year, we didn't win, but we hung in there despite all the injuries and it's a credit to our scouting and our development people. And I'm the recipient of this great talent that has done something in San Francisco that had never happened. You look at those great teams, it blows me away that they never won a World Series with Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry. Those are Hall of Famers. What seems to underscore what three world titles in six years means is that in the past 94 years, other than the Yankees, there are only four teams to win back-to-back World Series.

Bochy: It does. The foundation that we have here of young talent, most of it is homegrown. Look at [Buster] Posey, [Brandon] Belt, [Joe] Panik, [Brandon] Crawford, [Matt] Duffy and, of course, the pitching staff. Guys we have here, [Madison] Bumgarner, [Matt] Cain, [Sergio] Romo and those guys are the foundation of what's happened here the last six years. It is hard to believe that it didn't happen more in the early years of baseball, because now it's more difficult. You have more teams to beat and a Wild Card factor that comes into play. We all know about the Yankees, how they dominated at times, but I would have thought more teams would have done what's happened to us in the last six years. Do the expanded playoffs add to the postseason difficulty?

Bochy: There's no question. Look at the teams you are playing to get to the World Series. For us, going back to 2014, going to Pittsburgh and having to win one game there to keep going. Then playing the Washington Nationals, and we all know how good they were that year.

At times we have had our backs to the wall, and that has made what we have done even more amazing. We faced elimination six or seven times, and won each time. That's what makes me proud of what's happened here, the times we have had our backs against the wall, and these guys have a way of rising to the occasion and standing out when they need to. Even Kansas City in the seventh game, you lose Game 6 and you have to win game seven on the road. That's just not that easy. Here we had a guy, Madison Bumgarner, look at the workload he carried. It wasn't just the best of seven and that was it, like it used to be. He had to go through a long postseason, and here he comes in Game 7 of the World Series, with two days rest, and helps us win the World Championship.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.