Mariner of the Day: Bruce Bochte
Bruce Bochte was a Mariner for the 1978-1982 seasons, when the team went a combines 302-453 and generally stunk up the place. Bochte did as much as he could, though:
In 1979, after a unimpressive first year with the team, he led the Mariners in batting average (.316, 10th in the AL, OBP, SLG, extra-base hits (and sacrifice flies and GIDP). He represented the Mariners in the 1979 All-Star game, played at the Kingdome (brand new and spiffy). About 59,000 people went, and in the bottom half of the sixth they started to chant for Bochte to pinch-hit, and Bob Lemon, managing the AL team, obliged, hitting a single off Gaylord Perry to put the AL ahead and bring joy to the heart of already-oppressed Mariner fans.
It was a rare thrill that year: mid-week, the team was frequently drawing only a few thousand fans despite still having that new-team smell.
Bochte had another good season in 1980. Then in 1981 he didn’t hit well in the strike-that canceled over a third of the season (“Year of the Messed-Up Playoffs”). In 1982, he returned to form and let the team in batting average, OBP, hits, and walks — his .380 OBP was ninth in the AL.
At which point he disappeared for a year. Didn’t play at all in 1983. Just walked off. If you don’t believe me, check out his Baseball-Reference card. At the time, he didn’t say anything about it. Baseball Library offers this:
After hitting .297 in ’82, he abruptly retired, explaining, “I was the Mariners’ player rep for three years and became aware of a cold, impersonal attitude on the part of management, and wanted no part of that.”
The quote’s unsourced, though, so I’m not sure how much stock to put in it.
A year later, he signed with the A’s and played there for a few years.
And what’s he doing now? I refer you to this fine Jim Moore article from July 10, 2001:
For the past decade, Bochte has worked at the Center for the Story of the Universe, a research affiliate of the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, which emphasizes higher education for the mind, body and spirit.
He studies cosmology, focusing on the origin and evolutionary dynamics of the universe.
He’s also done work with the Bay Institute, as Moore noted, as well as other Bay-area charities.
But check out his cards. He’s a man of expression.
From this ebay auction:
Then in 1982, you get this, which makes him appear like he’s only got one nostril and is missing half his head:
Or check out this one:
And late in his career with Oakland, this classic pic from his 1987 card:
I love those glasses.