Tony Gwynn Jr.'s Bruce Bochy salute shows Giants manager's fatherly side


Tony Gwynn Jr. followed his Hall of Fame dad into the major leagues in 2006 and played eight seasons with four different teams. He has another fatherly figure to thank for his baseball career, too.

Gwynn credits Bruce Bochy, who managed his father from 1995 to 2001 in San Diego, for letting him hang out in the Padres’ clubhouse as a kid, which helped cultivate his love for the game.

“I feel like a great deal of my success of my career is due to the fact that he allowed it,” Gwynn told NBC Sports Bay Area in “Toast to Boch,” a special one-hour show saluting the departing Giants manager. “The players became my teachers -- Bruce was like the professor, basically. I learned everything I know about the game being in that clubhouse.”

The professor mostly got the best of the pupil in the bigs, as Gwynn hit .210 with no homers and six RBI in 105 at-bats against Bochy’s Giants teams. Still, it had to be cool for Bochy to see one of his former star players' sons facing him in the majors.

Bochy, who will retire after Sunday’s game, explained why, despite Major League restrictions against players’ children being in the clubhouse and on the field, he believes it should be allowed.

“I try to promote it,” Bochy said. “I tell our players, ‘Hey, bring them out early, take them on the field.’ … And I tell you why: This game can be really difficult. I mean, it’s a long season, you’re gone a lot. And so you miss a lot of time with your kids and your family.”

[RELATED: Ex-Giants GM believes Bochy will manage again]

Bochy, of course, enjoyed special family time in 2014 and 2015, when he had the chance to manage his son, Brett, on the Giants. And, based on Gwynn’s sentiments, who knows how many other past, current and future major leaguers the manager has influenced as kids?

If you missed the Saturday night premiere of “Toast to Boch,” you can catch re-airings Sunday at 10 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

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