Mariners Bruce Bochte – 10.6
“Hey, are you talking about the really successful manager from the Padres and Giants?”
Nope, different guy. That’s Bruce Bochy. Bruce Bochte was the Mariners first baseman from 1978 through 1982. There weren’t a lot of bright points from those early Mariners days, but Bochte was definitely one of them. He was never a good defender, posting negative values every season, although as a first baseman it was still decent. That wasn’t what made him good though.
It was his bat, especially during the 1979 season, his second in Seattle. He would hit 16 HR with 100 RBI while compiling a slash line of .316/.385/.493, and a WRC+ of 133. He did nearly as good in 1980, hitting .300/.381/.456 with a WRC+ of 123. It was good enough to earn him a combined 6.7 fWAR over those two seasons.
Bochte would play two more years in Seattle, still an above-average player, before abruptly retiring in 1983. It was for a respectable, but odd, reason as he was supposedly tired of the business of baseball and the state that the world was in, so he hung it up. He would come back to baseball, but not with the Mariners, and play from 84-86 in Oakland.
You have to wonder if Bochte stuck around, could he have put together a finishing strong stretch to become the best first baseman ever for the Mariners?