Rangers’ Bruce Bochy Focused on Repeating as World Series Champs

Bruce Bochy has been here before. The manager of the Texas Rangers is a four-time World Series champion skipper, but none of his wins have occurred in consecutive years.

With the Rangers coming off their five-game victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, he has another shot at it.

More from

“First of all, it’s difficult to win [the World Series] one time, let alone repeat,” Bochy said last week in Surprise, Ariz. before the Rangers broke their spring training camp, “It’s obvious it’s a hard thing to do because it doesn’t happen very often.”

The last time it happened in Major League Baseball was the New York Yankees winning three in a row from 1998-2000 with Joe Torre as manager. Seventeen of MLB’s 30 teams have won at least once since then, including the Rangers last season for the first time.

Bochy is on an obvious track to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and most of the managers recently inducted into the Hall of Fame have never won back-to-back World Series. Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland have never done it; neither did Dick Williams or Tommy Lasorda. Torre won four in five years during his Yankees run and Sparky Anderson did it back-to-back with the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976.

“We saw the Kansas City Chiefs do it this year in football,” Bochy said. “If you can do it once, you can do it again.”

But it doesn’t happen very often. The Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the last Super Bowl on the final play of overtime to repeat in the National Football League for the first time since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005.

The National Hockey League has had repeat Stanley Cup winners twice since 1998—Tampa Bay in 2020 and 2021 and Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.

The National Basketball Association has only had one repeat champion in the past 11 seasons: Golden State in 2017 and 2018.

Bochy’s San Francisco Giants won three titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014, but in the odd years, the team didn’t come close to the playoffs. In 2011 they finished eight games out of the National League West, and in 2013 they were 16 games back. Both years they failed to make the playoffs under a more restricted wild card system than today’s.

In 2011, Giants catcher Buster Posey injured his left leg in a collision at the plate and missed the last four months of that season. In 2013, Bochy recalled, “We probably didn’t pitch as well. Our offense, we really struggled to score runs. We were more pitcher-centric there. It was such a fine line for us because we played so many tight ballgames. That’s why it was called torture baseball.”

Bochy said in order to repeat this time, his core players need to have their normal years, and they all need to stay healthy.

“And you need a surprise or two and a little bit of luck along the way,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to take as well as staying hungry. You have to still have that hunger to win a championship and this club does. There’s no question in my mind they do.”

No team has the same personnel from season to season, and the Rangers are no exception. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer is out until May at the earliest recovering from offseason back surgery, and there’s no timetable to return right now for fellow starter Jacob deGrom, recovering from his second Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery didn’t re-sign and is about to ink a contract with the D-backs that will guarantee him one year at $25 million.

Catcher Mitch Garver signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Seattle Mariners; Bochy called that a particularly grievous loss for his club.

These past few seasons, Rangers owner Ray Davis has gone to great lengths to build a champion, signing Bochy, shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi for a total of $546 million. Seager won his second World Series MVP last year. Bochy, in his first season as a Ranger in 2023, took his third team to the World Series for the fifth time–-he lost with the San Diego Padres to the New York Yankees in 1998.

In addition, deGrom cost Davis $185 million over five years and when general manager Chris Young was told to keep spending, he added Scherzer from the New York Mets at the trade deadline, inheriting $22.5 million of his $43.3 million option for this season, plus Montgomery from St. Louis, assuming $3.9 million.

That gave the Rangers the fourth-highest payroll in MLB of $251.3 million by the end of this past season and produced a championship.

The strategy changed this offseason as the Rangers spent $30 million on four lower-level free agents. Comparatively, the Los Angeles Dodgers spent $1.09 billion on nine free agents-–much of that on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto-–and the Giants $323.3 million on six free agents.

The Texas payroll is still $220.3 million, sixth in the league. That’s where hunger for winning and repeating all starts.

“This was all part of our strategy,” Young said in an interview earlier this spring. “We didn’t know what the landscape would look like. But you can’t be that engaged every year. We’re balancing our spending the last few years with some of the players we have internally. We have a nice group of returning players who are in place.”

Bochy left San Francisco in 2019 because of heart health issues and in a huff because of his failing relationship with general manager Farhan Zaidi, who is on his third manager since taking over the team that year.

His relationship with Young, a Princeton graduate who pitched for Bochy in San Diego, is still stellar, much like the friendship Bochy once had with the late Kevin Towers when the two were with the Padres from 1995 to 2006. They won four division titles together.

Bochy said he had warm feelings about his time both in San Diego and San Francisco, where he worked most of his tenure for the iconic Brian Sabean, now a consultant under Brian Cashman with the Yankees.

“We had a great run together,” Bochy said. “You’d take that in a minute.”

Bochy is 68 and Young is 44.

Bochy now has another minute, or a season no less, to repeat and do all that one better.

(This story has been updated in the 14th paragraph to reflect that Jordan Montgomery is no longer a free agent.)

Best of