Tim Flannery reflects on Bruce Bochy's career upon retirement announcement

Tim Flannery reflects on Bruce Bochy's career upon retirement announcement

Editor's note: Tim Flannery is a Giants analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. Before joining the booth, he was a coach on Bruce Bochy's staff for 16 years, including eight as the third base coach for the Giants. Flannery won three World Series titles in San Francisco before retiring after the 2014 championship season. He shares his thoughts upon hearing about Bochy's impending retirement. 

Today, I found out Bruce Bochy will retire from managing after this season with the Giants. I’m thrilled for him. This man never has had even a moment off since he began managing in 1989, in the minor leagues for San Diego. He won all four years in the minors, then began as the major league manager in 1995 with the Padres.

After this season, he will have managed 25 years in the majors. That’s incredible. Along the way, he went to four World Series as the "Skipper," winning three of them as a Giant. He has been voted Manager of the Year, and has made everyone around him better for playing and coaching for him.

It’s an amazing run that will take him into the Hall of Fame. He did it with persistence, hard work, great people skills, and never being ‘’out prepared.’’ He was relentless in his love for competition, winning, and his flat out hatred for losing.

He didn’t care if he was given a team made up of low-budget, last-in-the-league in payroll players. He still honestly felt he had a chance to beat you. He never thought he was outmanned. This was, and is, his strength. It also made the players he had that day on that team play beyond their capabilities. He believed in them, so they did too.

Being a big league manager, the demands seem to never go away. Players, agents, front office, media, fans -- it’s a nonstop, second-guessing pressure cooker that takes years off of your life. It can be so unhealthy, but Boch always had the perfect makeup for dealing with all of it. In the middle of the storm, Boch always made the proper decisions -- not always the popular one -- but the proper one that would make the team better in the long run.

In all my 16 years coaching for him, I never once questioned the sign he put on for me to deliver. I never questioned a move he made. I trusted him because I knew he was smarter than everyone else. I witnessed it time and time again.

In this demanding game of big league baseball, so many are changed by the demands. So many become different people. Personalities can be drained by the relentless schedule, the demands. Managing will do that to you because of all you have to be, and the pressures of winning. Boch never would throw a player under the bus, he always covered for them. He never would finger-point, he would take their flaws and look the other way as he would take the blame.

He didn’t care. 

He was, and is, a players' manager. Not managing for the fan, who sees it all from a distance. He protected his boys.

25 years ago, players were different. 25 years ago, the game was different. You either evolved as a coach or manager, or you got spit out. He has dealt with every issue, every personality, every pressure, every kind of team, and all sorts of front offices. His sustainability is second to none.

[RELATED: Why Bochy is a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame]

After winning our first World Series in Texas in 2010, we were flying back West late in the night. The World Series trophy was up with us in First Class, and Boch grabbed me and took me in the galley and said some very special things to me.

Then he said, ‘’Look at that trophy, there’s nothing else I need now."

I knew him well enough to know that he was full of s**t, he wanted another and another. Although this will be his last year managing -- with a team supposedly not to win -- I’d be more frightened to play against Boch and his team now than ever before.

Why?

I can promise you this: he will not go quietly in the night. He will not make this his retirement tour. He will leave no stone unturned, and will not end his run without playing every last card he has left in his hand.

Congrats friend, now let 'em have it, and burn it all down. You taught us all that miracles only happen to those who believe in them.

Why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is a lock for Baseball Hall of Fame

Why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is a lock for Baseball Hall of Fame

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy made it official Monday, announcing the 2019 season will be his final one. We already know where the manager next will be seen representing the Giants.

Bochy is a lock to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, he has been a lock since Madison Bumgarner recorded the final out of the 2014 World Series.

"To me he’s a lock," Giants CEO Larry Baer said about Bochy on Monday. "The city of San Francisco is really proud of him, and as he goes through the season we’re going to have tributes. But I think the ultimate tribute will be Cooperstown. To us it’s a no-brainer.”

There are 10 managers in MLB history with at least three World Series titles, and the other nine are in the Hall. As if that third title wasn't enough, Bochy enters the 2019 season with 1,926 wins, placing him 11th all time. The 10 men ahead of him on that list all are in the Hall, too. 

Bochy’s legacy is secure, and on Monday, he kick-started what should be a yearlong celebration of one of the best managerial careers in MLB history. Bochy told his players that the 2019 season, the final one of his current contract, will be his final one as a manager. 

"It's time," Bochy said on Monday. "It's been an unbelievable ride. There's so much to be grateful for. With the players ... the city ... the fans ..."

This will be Bochy’s 25th season as a manager and 13th in San Francisco. The Giants aren’t projected to be in playoff contention, but Bochy believes in the group that has been put together, and he has made it clear that this isn’t to be viewed as a rebuilding year or a retirement tour. If his players can keep up their end of the bargain and exceed expectations, Bochy could hit a few more milestones.

Bochy is 74 wins away from 2,000, and that should be a relatively easy mark to hit. If the Giants can throw nine more wins on top of that, Bochy would move past Leo Durocher (2,008 wins) and place himself in the top 10 all-time in managerial victories. An improbable 90-win season would give Bochy an even .500 record (2,026-2,026) as a big league manager.

[RELATED: Bochy likes what he sees of switch-pitcher Venditte so far

Bochy will finish well above .500 in the postseason, where it really matters. He’s 44-33 in the playoffs and ranks fourth all-time in wins. The greatest of those might have been that final game of 2014, when Bochy handed the ball to Bumgarner in the middle innings. A few days later, Brian Sabean, his boss and close friend, stood on the steps of City Hall and introduced Bochy as “our Hall of Fame manager.”

Soon enough, he will be. 

Baseball Hall of Fame: Good, bad news for two former Giants on ballot

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AP

Baseball Hall of Fame: Good, bad news for two former Giants on ballot

SAN FRANCISCO -- A pair of former Giants middle infielders made modest gains in Hall of Fame voting, but only one of them seems to have a real shot. 

In his second year on the ballot, Omar Vizquel went from 37 percent to 42.8 percent.

Jeff Kent, now in his sixth year on the ballot, reached a new high of 18.1 percent, but he is far, far away from the 75 percent needed for induction, and he's running out of time. Kent has been between 14 and 18.1 percent in every year he has been on the ballot. 

The Kent case is a bit baffling, as he's the all-time leader in home runs among second basemen, a five-time All-Star and the 2000 National League MVP. He has seemingly been punished for playing in a homer-happy era and having a less-than-stellar defensive reputation, but Kent still seems worthy of far more discussion than he gets on a yearly basis. 

Perhaps Kent will benefit from a bit of a ballot purge, as four players were voted in Tuesday. Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous Hall of Famer and will be joined in the 2019 class by Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and the late Roy Halladay. Barry Bonds, in his seventh year on the ballot, received just 59.1 percent of the vote. 

Vizquel is one of the best defensive shortstops of all-time and finished his career with 2,877 hits. The 11-time Gold Glove winner played four seasons with the Giants and is an interesting spot. He currently is far from induction, but there are always players who make massive leaps in their final years on the ballot and get to the threshold. Martinez was at 43.4 percent as late as 2016 and Mussina was at 43 percent that year. Both are now Hall of Famers, and with a similar trajectory, Vizquel could join them one day. 

[RELATED: Bonds gains ground, but falls short of Hall of Fame again]

Another player with Giants ties certainly will not. Miguel Tejada got five total votes in his first year on the ballot and will not be eligible again.