THE CLASS OF 2024
Born in Landes de Bussac, France in 1955, Bruce Bochy is one of eight Major Leaguers to be born in France, where his father, Sgt. Major Gus Bochy, was stationed as a U.S. Army NCO at the time. Bruce Bochy made his big league debut as a catcher in 1978, with the Houston Astros. He played for nine seasons for three teams. In 1995, he was hired as manger by the San Diego Padres, making him the youngest manager in baseball and the first former Padres player to lead their team. In 1996, in only his second season, Bochy guided the Padres to a 91–71 record and their second National League West division title in franchise history. This success earned Bochy National League Manager of the Year and Sporting News National League Manager of the Year honors. In 1998, he led the Padres to a franchise-best 98–64 record and the second National League pennant in Padres history. Bochy eventually joined the Giants in 2007, managing them until 2019. Under Bochy's leadership, the Giants achieved seven winning seasons, four playoff appearances, and three NL pennants and World Series championships.
Following his managerial career, Bochy took on a front office role with the Giants. In December, 2019, Bochy was named Manager of the France national baseball team. On October 21, 2022, his former team, the Texas Rangers, hired Bochy out of retirement as their new manager. He led the Rangers to the 2023 World Series title, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the series. This achievement made him the fifth manager to win a World Series with multiple teams and third manager to win the World Series in both leagues.
Ron Santo was a renowned Major League Baseball third baseman, playing for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 to 1973 and the Chicago White Sox in 1974. Recognized as a Cubs All-Century Team member in 1999, he earned induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Santo's remarkable 15-year career included nine All-Star seasons, leading the National League (NL) in triples, walks, and on-base percentage at various times. He achieved a .300 or higher batting average and 30 or more home runs four times each, setting a unique record with eight consecutive seasons of over 90 runs batted in (RBI) from 1963 to 1970. Defensively, Santo won the Gold Glove Award for five consecutive seasons, setting NL records in total chances, putouts, assists, and double plays. Despite battling diabetes since adolescence, Santo's resilience and success persisted. He concealed his condition until 1971 when it led to the amputation of both lower legs. Santo became a dedicated advocate for diabetes research, raising over $65 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through events like the Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes. In 2002, he was honored as the foundation's "Person of the Year." Santo transitioned to broadcasting after his playing career and provided commentary for Cubs games on WGN radio until his passing in 2010.
Rick Monday is a former American professional baseball player turned broadcaster. His MLB career spanned from 1966 to 1984, primarily as a center fielder for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers, winning a World Series in 1981. Notably, he was the first pick in the inaugural 1965 MLB draft and gained recognition for preventing a flag from being burned at Dodger Stadium in 1976. On April 25th of that year, during a Chicago Cubs game in Los Angeles, Rick Monday was playing center field and thwarted two intruders. In the fourth inning, they ran onto the field, attempting to set fire to an American flag doused in lighter fluid. As a Marine Corps Reserves veteran, Monday intervened, snatching the flag from the arsonists and receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. Following his playing days, Monday transitioned to a broadcasting role with the Dodgers on both television and radio.
Don Carson has always been deeply rooted in the restaurant industry. As the son of renowned Chicago restaurateur ,Chris Carson, Don's upbringing in a restaurant family involved frequently dining out, fostering his appreciation for high quality food. His family is famous for founding Carson’s, The Place For Ribs, which is still a Chicago mainstay. In 1981, Don Carson, seized an opportunity when he learned that a shuttered Black Angus Steakhouse was available in Scottsdale. Carson collaborated with the late Charles Haskell, CFO of Lettuce Entertain You, for the venture. His passion for both restaurants and sports converged in the colorful ambiance of what became known as Don & Charlie's.
The restaurant's walls became a mosaic of sports history, adorned with countless pieces of memorabilia, from signed photos to iconic magazine covers and numerous autographed baseballs. Proximity to Scottsdale Stadium made it a magnet for athletes visiting the Valley. Don & Charlie's held a special place in the hearts of many – from athletes to locals and tourists. Whether drawn by the allure of sports memorabilia, top-notch cuisine, or the chance to rub elbows with celebrities, patrons were guaranteed a unique experience, enriched by Carson's personal touch. Don and Charlie’s finally closed their doors in 2019 so Carson could spend more time with family.
When the A’s moved to Oakland in 1968, during the first week of the season, a local high schooler named Steve Vucinich got a job with the team as a ballboy. In 2021, that ballboy celebrated his final home game as an employee of the A’s organization, spending 54 seasons with the team. Vucinich has been an integral part of the A's organization for decades, serving in various roles from peanut vendor to clubhouse and equipment manager. His long tenure has allowed him to witness pivotal moments in the team's history, including the first major league game in Oakland, two perfect games, five work stoppages, and six World Series appearances. Having navigated through 21 postseason series, three wild-card play-in games, and four championships, Vucinich stands as a witness to the entire Oakland era of the A's. Starting as an assistant in the home clubhouse, spending decades as the visiting clubhouse manager, and then becoming the team equipment manager, “Vuc” has seen the A’s evolution firsthand. With a tenure equaling that of legendary Connie Mack, Vucinich is the longest-serving employee in franchise history. His remarkable journey and contributions were recognized with an induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022.