Bruce Bochy cut his teeth with Astros
Did you know that Giants’ World Series-winning manager Bruce Bochy was born in France? Did you know that Bochy was behind the plate when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb‘s all-time hits record on Sept. 11, 1985? Did you know Bochy began his professional baseball career with the Astros?
Unless you have followed the Astros since the 1970s, you might not have known that last one, though Bochy’s time in Houston was brief and certainly wasn’t distinguished.
In the flurry of champagne-drenched camera shots following the Giants’ clinching win over the Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series on Monday, you might have noticed a jubliant Bochy talking on the field with Rangers owner/president Nolan Ryan, who was Bochy’s teammate with the Astros for one season. But Bochy never caught a pitch from Ryan.
Bochy was taken in the first round by the Astros in the 1975 supplemental draft and made his Major Legaue debut with Houston on July 19, 1978. He played three seasons with the Astros (1978-80) and hit .239 with four homers and 21 RBIs and had one at-bat for Houston in that memorable 1980 National League Championship Series against the Phillies in 1980.
In 1978, Bochy was called up about the time the Astros traded Joe Ferguson to the Dodgers for Jeff Leonard and Rafael Landestoy and wound playing about the same amount of time as Ferguson and Luis Pujols. Alan Ashby hit the scene in 1979 and would hold down the catcher’s job for the next decade. After playing in a total of 110 games between 1978-79, Bochy played in only 22 in 1980.
Bochy was traded to the Mets for Randy Rogers and Stan Hough on Feb. 11, 1981 and played with the Mets for one year and finished his career with five years in San Diego, the team he later managed before going to the Giants. He’s one of a handful of former Astros to become a manager, including Bob Lillis, Davey Lopes, Phil Garner, Ray Knight, Buddy Bell, Larry Dierker, Luis Pujols, Tony Pena, Dave Clark, Art Howe and, of course, Ron Washington, whose Rangers lost to the Giants in the World Series.