Kurt Bevacqua spent six seasons with the Padres across his 15-year career. A few of those seasons in San Diego, from 1983-85, the journeyman infielder shared a clubhouse with former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was the Padres' catcher from 1983-87
The two “ran together,” as Bevacqua so eloquently put it, as Padres teammates. He also has a good sense that we will see Boch back into a managerial role very soon after future Hall of Famer announced his retirement following the 2019 season.
“I think so too,” Bevacqua said on Balk Talk, after I said "yes" after he asked me if I believed Bochy would return. “I haven’t talked to him in a couple months, so I need to delve into that next time.”
Bevacqua mentioned that Bochy was worn out after a long career as a manager and big league catcher, and needed a break for a bit. He mentioned back pain was bothering the three-time World Series champion. Bevacqua set him up with a back specialist to take care of him -- and it worked.
Bevacqua volunteered to go to some of Bochy’s appointments because he really enjoyed the sound of back cracks mixed in with Bochy moans.
“After two or three appointments, Boch said he’s never felt as good as he did in 20 years,” Bevacqua said. “He had some pep in his step. I’m looking for him to come back. Naturally, you’re going to be a little bit different as a manager than as a player, but then on the other hand, I think that’s the reason why Boch was so successful.
Bevacqua described Bochy as someone who would present himself in an equal way to everyone, no matter the title.
“When he walked into the clubhouse, it wasn’t like all the players’ first thought was, ‘Oh there’s Skip,’ and then silence,” Bevacqua said. “It was just, continue what you were going to do -- it’s Skip, we know we can do this, he still respects us as players and he was able to get into the clubhouse and have the players respect him as a manager, but also look at him as one of them.”
Bevaqua also revealed some details about their playing days, where they'd stay out late getting dinner and drinks in Chicago and Cincinnati after games.
“He was a lot of fun,” Bevacqua continued. “He was very similar as a player to the way he was/is as a manager.”
I assume some of those stories will go to the grave, but it was interesting to find out the two messed with mascots, especially the infamous Crazy Crab anti-mascot the Giants introduced during the 1984 season. It was also unearthed beer was Bochy’s drink of choice during his playing days after years of we were used to seeing him with a glass of red wine in his hand after a Giants game.
Bochy served as the manager of France for the World Baseball Classic last season, but didn’t have a chance to manage an actual game due to the WBC cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Giants also offered him a role as a special advisor.
None of us were ready to fully say goodbye to the man who managed over 4,000 games in his career.
Bochy did say he misses managing in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle and is open to an opportunity for a return, but enjoyed the break, just as Bevacqua mentioned. Still, don’t be surprised if we see him back in action in the future.