I’m bald. I started losing my hair while I was in high school, and by the time I was a junior in college, I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea to never get my haircut again. If I never got another haircut, I thought. I will always have hair. Which is fine in theory, but not if you find more hair on your pillowcase than on the top of your head. I looked like a deranged scientist, which was bad form for a 20 year old single guy. My mother bought me shampoo for “thinning hair.” I didn’t take my Phillies hat off for two semesters. I was clinging to the past – clinging to my high school days. I just couldn’t pull the band-aid off.
Thus concludes my preview of the 2014 Phillies.
I’m not saying that I’m pessimistic about this upcoming Phillies season, but I did just spend the last twenty minutes Googling Jeff Manship.
Name: Chad Ogea
Position: Starting Pitcher
Wheels’ Scouting Report: “Oh, ho boy, that Ogea. He’s a quirky one. Not quirky like a left-handed reliever - I mean, they’re really quirky. But Ogea, he’s quirky, too. A bit of an odd ball. The one thing that stands out about him is that he’s always talking the game. You can just tell. Chad loves coming to the ball park every day. You love to see that.”
Phillies Tenure: 1999
Semi-Believable WIP Call from 1999:
“Steve, Mike … big fan of the show. Ogea has been struggling this year. I was thinking maybe a stint in the bullpen would help? Help find his rhythm again? We’re gonna need him for the stretch run. Oh, and are you guys still asking for a movie for the Guy’s All-Time Movie List? Has anyone said Platoon? Imma hang up and listen.”
The Phillies acquired Chad Ogea via free agency for the 1999 season. Ogea found some success a couple of season prior in the ’97 World Series while pitching for Cleveland. He was an unlikely hero. Chad, whose career numbers screamed more Mark Leiter than Al, went 2-0 against the Fish in the Series while posting a 1.54 ERA. And despite a disastrous, albeit predictable follow-up season in 1998, the Phillies inked Ogea to a contract for the 1999 campaign.
Ogea had a 5.63 ERA in his lone season with the Phillies, but Baseball Prospectus suggest that his ERA would have been a run and a half lower if Ron Gant was allowed to be positioned in Section 358 of the Vet. According to Baseball Reference, Ogea conceded a healthy 32 home runs that season. But if that number seems a touch low, it is. For seasons prior to 2000, B-R only classified home runs as balls that landed on the moon. Measuring Ogea’s season by more traditional home run standards and Chad actually allowed 284 bombs in 1999.
If Chad Ogea pitched to Bobby Abreu at the Home Run Derby in 2005, then we would still be watching the 2005 Home Run Derby. Bobby would still be belting 78 MPH fastballs all over Comerica Park. Time would have stopped. The world would have stopped. All eyes would have been on the Motor City. Ogea and Abreu could have single-handedly resurrected the Detroit economy. Bobby would be approaching his three trillionth home run – a record that should stand for the foreseeable future. Detroit would be preparing to host Wrestlemania 31 at the Pontiac Silverdome (over 93,000 people expected to attend). People in the Delaware Valley would have had eight years to discuss the pros and cons of acquiring Kip Wells for the ’05 Wild Card run. The city would have been overrun with hot sports takes.
“Ed Wade has to pull the trigger! The Phillies are built to win now! Kip’s a grinder!”
“We have to stay the course! We can’t mortgage our future! Eude Brito has a live arm!”
“Kip is a clubhouse cancer! He’s not a winner! He doesn’t respect the game!”
Every kid under the age of eight would’ve been named Kip, or Bobby, or Chad. Or Aiden probably. Everyone’s kid is named Aiden.
Chad Ogea was the poster child of those lousy 90’s Phillies teams. Well, Ogea and Ricky Otero anyway. Outside of a select few, it was a roster littered with fringe prospects and castaways. But we wanted to believe otherwise. That there was more there – diamonds in the rough, hidden treasures, just ready to explode. Kids like me clung to our Wendell Magee Jr. rookie cards like they were antique pendants handed down from generation to generation.
“When did you get a safe, Bob?”
When I acquired this Fleer Wendell Magee Jr. rookie card in mint condition, Tim.”
I distinctively remember Ogea laboring on the mound, exhausted, as the summer heat and the scorching Astro Turf zapped all the life from his fastball. Ogea reminded me of Tony Danza’s character from Angels in the Outfield, but before the angels intervened.
“You used to be Mel Clark.”
“Yeah, I used to be.”
But, looking back, I had that same distinct laboring memory with Mark Leiter and Mark Portugal, too. So what do I know? The late 90s Phillies was an exercise in patience. Their starting rotation especially was an exercise in patience. It was Curt Schilling and pray for a monsoon. But, as we all know, the only Monsoon worth praying for is Gorilla.
So, today, we remember Chad Ogea. He pitched to contact. And contact he found.
You can follow @wheresbenrivera on Twitter and check out his previous Remember This Guy(s): William Thomas, Chris T. Jones, and a guide to hating the Cowboys.