The other player is Bruce Bochte, who, with his killer aviator eyeglasses, is either Dave Collins’ alter ego that Topps thought would be fun to create or he’s Stephen King’s illegitimate brother. Anyway, he’s pretty much normal looking and there’s really not much of a connection between the two players, though yes, their names are almost identical, which is definitely kind of funny.
The real reason I wanted to write about this was because on the back of Bochte’s card it says he did not play in 1983, and this coming off four decent campaigns with the bottom-feeder Mariners. (By the way, didn’t you love the way the early Topps cards worded player notes on the backs of cards? I really like the use of the word ‘campaign.’ I’m going to start using it at work and in my daily home life. But anyway…) It’s almost as if Bochte got sick of frittering away his youth earning hundreds of thousands of dollars as a not really even half-way decent star of a glorified double A team and tried his hand at something else for a year.
What do you suppose he did? Peter Gammons, in his fantastic Beyond the Sixth Game, uses the descriptive term ‘plumbing executive’ on more than one occasion to describe players’ off-season occupations, but that doesn’t seem glamorous enough for Bochte. Maybe he was a chimney sweep (though his card lists him at 6’3”, so his campaign as a chimney sweep probably ended badly), or fed penguins at the zoo or joined the WCW under the alias ‘Cujo’ after his illegitimate brother’s famous book, or maybe he wrote a syndicated gossip column or drove a school bus. And then every day nervous fathers and mothers would pause just one extra second at the bus stop, their hands firmly clutching the shoulders of their sons and daughters, trying to pass a little parental warmth and love to their unwitting children heading off to school in the bus driven by Cujo, that old WCW wrestler who looks just enough like Stephen King that it’s totally creepy.