Monday, October 31, 2011

#28 Bruce Bochte

Card:  This is Bruce Bochte's ninth Topps card.  His rookie card was in the 1975 set.

Picture:  It's a cool picture of Bochte gritting his teeth as he swings.
I think Bochte could pass as Dale Murphy's older brother.  At least by looking at these pics anyway.

Player:  Raise your hand if you ever get Bruce Bochte confused with Bruce Bochy.  Yeah me too.  Alright, we got that out of the way.  Bochte was a 2nd round pick out of Santa Clara Universtiy by the California Angels in 1972.  In his two and a half years in the minors, the Pasadena native batted .327, .319, and .355 before he was called up to the Angels in the middle of 1974.  Splitting time between leftfield and first base, Bochte hit .270 with five home runs in 197 at bats in his rookie year.

Bochte was the Angels everyday firstbasemen in '75 until an injury sidelined him for 50 games.  Bochte didn't hit for much power, but he hit .285 and displayed good bat control with 45 walks and only 43 strikeouts.  In '76 the left handed Bochte split time between first base and the corner outfield spots.  His power lagged as he hit only two homers and seventeen doubles in 466 at bats to go with a disappointing .258 average.

Bochte started the '77 season as the Angels centerfielder and batted .290 through 25 games when the Angels traded him to the Indians in a four player deal.  Playing leftfield and first base for the Indians, Bochte continued to hit well, and posted a combined average of .301 with seven home runs in 137 games.

As a free agent Bochte signed with the Mariners for the '78 season.  Batting .263 Bochte hit double digits in the HR category for the for the first time in his career with eleven.  1979 was a career year for Bochte as he batted .316, with 38 doubles, 16 home runs, and 100 RBI.  Bochte made the A.L. All-Star team and the firstbaseman quickly had become one the Mariners first stars.

Bochte batted .300 with 34 doubles and 13 long balls in '80 as he had another decent year.  The strike year of '81 was a down year as Bochte hit only .260 with six homers in 335 at bats.  In '82 Bochte split time between left field and first base and batted .297 but his extra base power was down with only 21 doubles and 12 home runs in 509 at bats.

Bochte would sit out the entire the entire '83 season as a protest against players escalating salaries, believing it was destroying baseball.  After missing the '83 season, Bochte then signed a contract with the Oakland A's for the '84 season.  Bochte hit only .264 with limited power (.345 SLG) in his first year with the A's.  In '85 the A's platooned Bochte and he responded by hitting .295 with 14 home runs in 424 at bats.  Although playing strictly against right handed pitching, Bochte struggled in '86 and could only muster twenty extra base hits while batting .256.
The 35 year-old Bochte walked away from baseball with a career .282 batting average, 1,478 hits and 100 home runs.

Flipside:  Once again Topps omits a much better performance from the highlights listed on the back.  On Sept. 7 against the Royals, Bochte went 4 for 4 with a home run and two RBI in a 5-2 win.

Oddball:  Some former ball players go into coaching, some pursue scouting or work in the front office.  Others go into broadcasting or start their own business.  The free-thinking Bochte became a cosmologist studying the evolution of the solar system and human kind.  Bochte has been labeled many things but you can read more here.  He really has fallen off the grid and isn't involved at all in baseball anymore.

History:  Bochte was an All-Star in '78 for the young Seattle Mariner franchise and a player fans looked to as a star.  Bochte didn't have the power of most firstbasemen but he played good defense, made contact, drew some walks and could be counted on for an average around .300.
His mysterious mid-career holdout to protest high salaries is a head-scratcher.  Bochte kept the first base job warm in Oakland for Mark McGwire to take over in '87.


  1. When I was 9, I thought this was one of my fav cards...the teeth grit, the Mariners logo (I wish they'd go back that one!), the action, and I actually did think he was related to Murph due to that pic.

  2. Craig Reynolds was the lone all star in 1978. Bochte was the Mariners rep in the 79 game at the Kingdome.

  3. @ Mariner1.....Yep, that paragraph wasnt very clear. Thanks for the notice and thanks for reading