It's been over two years since Bruce Bochy retired as the Giants' manager, but his accomplishments at the helm (and the nostalgia that accompanies them) are still far from fading.
Bochy's three World Series championships with San Francisco in 2010, 2012 and 2014 will be the leading factors in defining his eventual Hall of Fame legacy. Like many Giants fans, the former skipper has trouble picking a favorite title. If he had to choose though, he'd go with the first.
"If I were to wear a World Series ring, I’d probably wear the first one," Bochy told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle in late December. "It was probably my favorite because it was the first one. It’s what you dream about."
Who could forget the scene? Brian Wilson blew strike three past Nelson Cruz to rookie Buster Posey behind the plate in Game 5 against the Texas Rangers, leading the Giants to secure their first World Series title since 1954. It was a remarkable feat for a team full of underdogs that most had written off before the division series.
The Giants' 2010 championship not only served as the first title since the franchise moved to San Francisco, but also as Bochy's first one as manager. He recounted the emotions he felt the night before the final game, ones that Giants fans' surely shared.
"There’s lot of reasons this one was so special," Bochy told Shea. "I remember that last game. I didn’t sleep the night before. But I had (Tim) Lincecum going, so I should’ve slept fine."
Of course, the Giants would go to win two more titles in the next four years, sealing Bochy's legacy after 25 managerial seasons. Bochy also shared his favorite memories of San Francisco's titles in 2012 and 2014.
"In 2012, if you look what we had to go through to get there, there were so many big moments," he said. "We won the World Series in four straight, but before that, it wasn’t easy."
The Giants staved off elimination games in both the division series and the National League Championship series. After trailing the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS 2-0, San Francisco won three straight, highlighted by Posey's grand slam in the decisive Game 5 victory. San Francisco also trailed the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1, but prevailed, topping the defending champions 4-3 in Game 7 to win the pennant. Ultimately, the Giants would sweep the Detroit Tigers in four games for their second title.
Naturally, Bochy's favorite memory in 2014 stems more from a player performance than a specific game or moment. He recalled Madison Bumgarner's postseason dominance as the obvious choice.
"The best postseason performance ever, I think we saw with (Madison) Bumgarner," Bochy recalled. "What he did in Game 7, but really, all the other games, too. The wild-card game. It’s just unbelievable what that man did."
Bumgarner repeatedly was untouchable as he charged San Francisco back to the World Series, this time against the Kansas City Royals, for the final time under Bochy's tenure. His five-inning relief appearance in Game 7 (on two days rest at that) to save the game -- and lock up the title -- was nothing short of incredible.
While Bochy's days leading the Giants are over, the longtime skipper wouldn't rule out if he would return to managing again should the opportunity present itself. Until then, he'll continue enjoying retirement, and the occasional reminiscing of his three World Series championships.