Bruce Bochte

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Bruce Anton Bochte

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Biographical Information[edit]

First baseman/outfielder Bruce Bochte played a dozen years in the majors, most notably for the Seattle Mariners, for whom he appeared in the 1979 All-Star Game.

After graduating from high school in Arcadia, California, Bochte played college ball at Santa Clara University. During his time there, he posted a career .364 average (still third best in school history), and he was a second-team All-American in 1972. He also was on the school's basketball team. He was MVP of the 1971 National Baseball Congress World Series while playing for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, who won the championship.

“The swing, the desire, the concentration, the ability to consistently get a piece of almost every pitch, makes this kid a natural to win a batting championship.” - Dick Williams

Bochte was selected by the California Angels in the second round of the 1972 amateur draft. He made his pro debut that summer for the Stockton Ports, hitting .327 with 11 home runs in 72 games. He reached AAA with the Salt Lake City Angels in 1974, posting a .355 average, which would have led the Pacific Coast League if he had enough at-bats to qualify. He was called up to the majors that July and made his big league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on July 19th, entering the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning and scoring a run. He went 2-for-4 against the O's in his first start two days later, and he posted an impressive .460 batting average through his first fifteen games. Splitting time between left field and first base, he hit .270 with 5 homers in his rookie campaign for California. He was the Angels' Opening Day first baseman in 1975, hitting a team-high .285 in his first full big league season, despite missing time due to a broken thumb. After about three years with the Halos, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians along with Sid Monge for Dave LaRoche and Dave Schuler in May 1977. Between the two clubs that year, he hit .301 in 137 games.

Bochte signed with the Seattle Mariners before the 1978 campaign, the first significant free agent to sign with the expansion team that had just completed its first season. He hit .316/.385/.493 with 16 bombs and 100 RBI in 1979 and appeared in the All-Star Game, getting a hit off future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. He led the Mariners in batting average in three of his five seasons with the club, and as of 2023, is eighth on the team's all-time career batting average list with a .290 mark. He abruptly retired following the 1982 season after becoming disillusioned with the business of baseball. That year, he furthered his education, focusing on ecology and taking classes at the University of Washington.

“I don’t take it all so seriously now... I’m just as intense from the start of a game to the finish, but I’m no longer caught up in that thinking that the whole community knows... and cares... what you’re doing.” - Bruce Bochte, to the LA Times, April 25, 1985

Bochte returned to baseball with the Oakland Athletics in 1984. He spent three years as the A's regular first baseman and hit .295 with 14 home runs in 1985. After three years in Oakland, he retired for good.

During his playing days, Bochte took a great interest in environmental issues, and after his baseball career ended, he spent time working for the Center for the Story of the Universe in San Francisco, where he studied cosmology.

According to various sources, either Bochte or teammate Tom Paciorek was the player who coined the term "Mendoza Line", derived fro light-hitting shortstop Mario Mendoza.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (1979)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1979)

Related Sites[edit]