SAN FRANCISCO -- Though Bruce Bochy is being honored at Saturday's annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation (PBSF) dinner in Los Angeles, he knows that the evening's true luminaries are the scouts themselves.
Bochy, the San Francisco Giants' skipper who's entering a Major League-high 20th consecutive season as a manager, will receive the Tommy Lasorda Managerial Achievement Award. Besides maintaining his sheer longevity, Bochy has led his clubs to 1,530 victories, most among active managers in the Majors. His Giants won the World Series in 2010 and '12.
Gary Hughes, professional scouting consultant for the Boston Red Sox who's on the PBSF board of directors, cited some of the factors behind Bochy's selection: "The professionalism that he exhibits and the fact that he's very good at his craft. Also, Tommy thinks the world of him."
Said Bochy on Friday, "I'm honored to receive this award. Tommy's been such a great ambassador to the game and had such a great career as a manager."
Bochy readily acknowledged the contributions of the Giants' scouts to the team's success. Several professional-level scouts constantly provide valuable advance reports on opponents, and the Giants' amateur scouts have signed key "homegrown" performers such as Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Add to that list players drafted and developed by the Giants who are no longer with the organization but helped deliver Series rings, including Brian Wilson, Nate Schierholtz, Jonathan Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa.
"They're the guys we depend on," Bochy said of the Giants' scouts. It just so happens that Bochy's brother, Joe, is a scout for the San Diego Padres.
The PBSF was created in 2003 to assist scouts in need, such as those who lost their jobs, must pay for medical care or encountered any sort of financial adversity. The fundraising dinner, Bochy said, is "a really neat event that does a lot for the scouts who have fallen on hard times. They don't get multiyear contracts or the big money, so it's great that there's an event to help them out."
Bochy, 58, still remembers Paul Florence, the Houston scout who signed him out of Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla. The Astros selected Bochy in the first round of the since-eliminated secondary phase of the 1975 First-Year Player Draft. But Bochy was considering staying in school, having signed a letter of intent to attend the University of South Alabama and play for highly respected coach Eddie Stanky.
Recalled Bochy, "Paul's closing line -- he went to it quite a bit -- was, 'Do you want to play for South Alabama or do you want to play for the Houston Astros?' After you hear it enough, that professional team sounded pretty good."