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18 September 2019

The Bay area has been blessed with some extraordinary coaches. Not only were they successful in winning championships but they were the sort of role models every parent beatifies. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who is retiring at the end of the season, is the latest.

Outside the Ballpark. Photo courtesy of Joyce Abbott.

Before he goes, though, there has been one achievement still on his bucket list. The 2,000 career win mark.

There are only 10 managers who had done that in the history of major league baseball. Their names bring chills down your spine: Connie Mack (3,731), John McGraw (2,763), Tony La Russa (2,728), Bobby Cox (2,504), Joe Torre (2,326), Sparky Anderson (2,194), Bucky Harris (2,158), Joe McCarthy (2,125), Walter Alston (2,040) and Leo Durocher (2,008).

Among active managers, Tony Francona comes in second, well behind Bochy at 1,574 wins (at last count).

A win is a win but his most endearing ones for Giants fans are the three World Series championships (2010, 2012, 2014). As each of those three teams marched through each playoff series, including the World Series itself, it was never the favorite. Which should tell you how good a manager he is.

But, as we said, it isn't all about wins. It's especially sweet that Bochy's career -- which includes the only walk-off home run Nolan Ryan ever gave up as well as this latest win as a manager -- disproves the tired notion that nice guys finish last.

As if to emphasize that, he finished this achievement with a particularly classy touch. To close out tonight's historic game, Bochy didn't go with one of his stars but with the well-traveled minor league pitcher Enderson Franco. It was his first appearance after being called up from the Sacramento River Cats and he'll now always be remembered as the closer in Bochy's 2,000 career win.

So hats off to you, Boch. Congrats on Number 2,000. And thanks for doing it with class!

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