Saturday, October 30, 2010
#288) BRUCE BOCHY
Bruce Bochy was traded to the New York Mets from the Houston Astros in exchange for Stan Hough and Randy Rogers on February 11, 1981. Bochy was assigned to Triple-A Tidewater to begin the season but made his Mets debut on August 21, 1982. He was the starting catcher in New York's 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium. When promoted he had brought more than his glove with him from the minor leagues. "Whenever I got traded or played winter ball, the first priority was always to pack up my helmets," remembered Bochy. "And before I arrived, I'd usually have to paint them." The player nicknamed "Buckethead" wears a 8-3/4 hat size. Too large for standard clubhouses. Throughout his 14 years of organized ball he wore the same batting and catching helmets. "I had to," Bruce said. "None of the teams I played for carried my size." Both helmets had been specially made in 1975, his first year in Single-A ball with the Covington Astros. "I added a coat of orange before the '79 season with Houston, and a coat of red before the next winter ball season, then two more coats—orange and red—in '80, and a coat of blue when I went to the Mets organization in '81."
Bruce played in 17 games for New York to close the 1982 season. In his 49 at-bats he hit two homeruns and a .306 batting average. Surprisingly he was released by the Mets on October 3, 1982.
Bochy has become a well-respected major-league manager following his playing career. First with the San Diego Padres in 1995—where he won National League Manager of the Year honors in 1996. Then leading the San Francisco Giants organization since 2007. Bringing them a World Series Championship in 2010.
I created Bruce Bochy's card in the set from an autographed index card I purchased from Jack Smalling in January 2009. Jack's website is www.baseballaddresses.com.