Bochy recalls his role in '84 Fall Classic

Bochy recalls his role in '84 Fall Classic

Bochy recalls his role in '84 Fall Classic
DETROIT -- This isn't Bruce Bochy's first World Series experience against the Tigers. In 1984, he was the backup catcher when the Padres played the Tigers, losing in five games -- the last three at old Tiger Stadium.

Bochy had one at-bat in the Series, a pinch-hit appearance for center fielder Bobby Brown in the ninth inning of Game 5, when the Padres were already losing, 8-4, and on their way to defeat.

Bochy hit a single to left and manager Dick Williams quickly replaced the slow-footed Bochy on the basepaths with Ron Roenicke, now the manager of the Brewers.

"Can you imagine Dick replacing me with a pinch-runner?" Bochy said with a grin. "The nerve of the guy."

In the at-bat against Willie Hernandez -- the reliever who was the MVP and the winner of the Cy Young Award in the American League that season -- Bochy hit a long drive down the line that landed in the upper deck in the venerable stadium that once stood nearby on the corner of Michigan and Trumbell.

"In my mind it still counts," Bochy said about the foul homer. "I went 2-for-1."

Bochy hasn't forgotten about how that Series ended, either. As it became apparent in the final innings that the Tigers were about to wrap up their first (and last) World Series victory since 1968, fans rioted around the outskirts of Tiger Stadium, torching cars, among other things.

"Our families were moved out of the stadium in the seventh inning and sent to the airport before the rest of the team," Bochy recalled.

After the game, the Padres went out to their team buses, which were almost overrun by rowdy fans.

"They surrounded the bus and started shaking it," Bochy said. "A police car was burning. You'd think they'd be happy we lost."

Finally a group of mounted riot police ushered the buses slowly away from the ballpark toward the freeway. It was clear sailing from there to the hotel.

It was Bochy's only appearance in the World Series as a player. Subsequently, he managed the Padres in their sweep at the hands of the Yankees in the 1998 World Series and was at the helm when the Giants defeated the Rangers in five games two years ago.

"It was a big thing for me," Bochy said about that brief appearance in the 1984 Fall Classic. "I'm 1-for-1, and nobody can ever take that away from me."