Thursday, February 9, 2012
#435) TIM BOGAR
Tim Bogar was selected by the New York Mets organization in the eighth round of the free agent draft on June 2, 1987. A natural shortstop, who joined Eastern Illinois University as a walk on member of the baseball program. Tim not only made the team, he garnered all-conference honors after hitting 17 home runs while posting a .408 batting average in 1987. "He wasn't a superstar," Bogar's former high school coach Bill Wurl recalled. "He was a thinking player. He did the little things needed to win."
The Mets selected the infielder as a co-winner of their Class-A MVP award in 1988. He was told that a faster path to the majors might occur through more of a utility role. Tim proved his extreme versatility on September 4, 1991. Bogar appeared at all nine fielding positions in a single game as a member of the Triple-A Tidewater Tides facing the Richmond Braves.
Tim's big-league career began when he was the last player named to the New York roster to start the 1993 season. Bogar would make his major league debut on April 21, 1993 at Shea Stadium. The righthanded batter struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of the Mets 10-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. His appearance 12 games into the campaign earned him the "a-Trophy Award" for 1993. Newsday writer, Marty Noble began recognizing each season the last man on any team's Opening Day roster to make a game appearance. "I guess congratulations are in order," Bogar said when informed of the distinction. "Now I can say in my short major league career I've won an award. I figured I'd be the last on this team to play, but I didn't know I'd be the last in the major leagues. To be honest, I'm glad it's over."
Injuries, and an eventual trade of Tony Fernandez in June made Bogar the club's starting shortstop. He responded well to the assignment. Tim became a favorite of both the coaches and his teammates. Bogar's rookie season unexpectedly ended following the best game of his Mets career on August 14th. Starting at second base he collected four hits and 4 RBIs during a 9-6 New York victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Two of the hits were home runs. The second of which was of the inside-the-park variety. "That's the farthest I've ever run in my baseball life," Tim wheezed after the ninth-inning feat. "I got added wind when I saw how excited Cubby (third base coach Mike Cubbage) was." Bogar's slide at the plate resulted in a broken hand that required season-ending surgery.
Tim returned to the Mets the next spring, but found himself in the definite role of a reserve player. A trade brought over José Vizcaino to become the starting shortstop for 1994. Bogar began to add first base and the outfield to his major league resumé. He would continue to help the club from the bench through the end of the 1996 season.
The four-year Mets player was informed during the final days of spring training camp he was not in the club's plans for 1997. New York first designated him for assignment, and then traded Bogar to the Houston Astros in exchange for Luis Lopez on March 31, 1997. "How it all went down when I got traded to Houston, there wasn't as much of a need for me on the team that year," Tim explained in 2012. "They decided to go in a different direction. It was actually a really good thing for me. I enjoyed my four years in Houston and I got to play a lot more, and I actually went further with my career in Houston than I ever would have in New York. There's always a reason for something."
Bogar started his second career in baseball as a minor league manager for the Astros organization in 2004. He moved to the Cleveland Indians system and was named the Eastern League Manager of the Year with Akron in 2006. Tim's return to the major leagues as a coach came during the 2008 season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The next year he joined the Boston Red Sox coaching staff. "One of my former pupils," Bobby Valentine said of Bogar in 2012. "He's a very good baseball man and future manager at the big league level, no doubt."
Tim was inducted into the Eastern Illinois University Hall of Fame in 1998.
I created Tim Bogar's card in the set using an autographed index card acquired by Jessie from the noted collection of Dr. John Davis, Jr. on February 9, 2012.