If one was forced to pick a single, all-encompassing characteristic of the New York Mets as a franchise, it would have to be the team’s incredible knack of enlisting truly mediocre players. “A Look Back at Mediocre Mets” will be an on-going series exploring these types of players that fans loved, hated, but were regardless forced to watch. Today’s mediocre Met is infielder Tim Bogar.
Tim Bogar was my hero. While “heroes” often have career lines superior to a .228/.298/.332 clip, the light-hitting utility man was, never the less, mine. It all started during the 1995 Mets Spring Training. My grandparents had a house in Florida, and our family decided to pay both them, and the New York Mets a visit. Before the game commenced, and while most players were either stretching or joking around in the dugout, Tim Bogar trotted over to the field level stands to sign some autographs. Like any 8 year-old kid, I wanted his autograph as if it were the Holy Grail.
I excitedly made my way down the steps to the bannister separating the stands from the field. But as I stretched out my Official Major League Baseball and sharpie towards the Mets infielder, a swarm of older kids and adults bum-rushed the area. Pinned up against the bannister–and unable to turn to my older brother or father for help–I began to cry. Despite my tears, the unrelenting fans continued pushing their way towards the front, and didn’t seem to notice my threatened self. However, one person did notice. Tim Bogar. Bogar quickly shouted, “Hey, everyone, can’t you see you’re hurting the kid?” Everyone immediately stopped pushing and shoving, and let me back to the front of the line where a concerned Tim Bogar genuinely asked if I was all right. I nodded reassuringly. Bogar, now smiling, happily signed my baseball, and thanked me for being such a big fan.
Heroics and great personality aside, Tim Bogar was a pretty mediocre player for the Mets. Originally drafted by the team in the 8th round of the 1987 draft, the infielder never quite “dominated” any level of the Minor Leagues. In fact, his best Minor League season came in 1988, when he smacked a .278/.376/.362 line with 5 HR, 51 RBI, 53 R, and 14 SB in 447 PA’s for Single-A. The guy never hit more than 5 HR in a given season, and owned a collective .256/.318/.334 line in parts of 9 Minor League seasons.
Despite his mediocre showing in the Minors, the Mets promoted Bogar to the show in 1993. Playing mostly shortstop (507 innings), the 26 year-old posted a .244/.300/.351 line with 3 HR, 25 RBI, and 19 R in 224 PA’s. Bogar only saw 59 PA’s in 1994, but was still able to show-off his versatility as a fielder–playing games at third base, first base, shortstop, second base, and left field. While the utility man swatted a mere .154/.211/.269 line in 1994, Bogar enjoyed a surprisingly production season in 1995. The 28 year-old posted a solid .290/.329/.359 line with 1 HR, 21 RBI, and 17 R in 145 PA’s. Even though his playing time was very limited, it seemed as though Bogar was potentially emerging as a helpful bench piece. But like clockwork, Bogar regressed back to his usual mediocre self in 1996, hitting to the tune of a .213/.287/.258 line in 104 PA’s. 1996 would also be his last season in orange and blue, as he was traded on March 31, 1997 to the Houston Astros for [equally-mediocre] infielder Luis Lopez.
The infield would go on to play another five seasons between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, but none of them were particularly noteworthy. In fact, Bogar owned a equally mediocre career with the Mets (.242/.297/.328 in 544 PA’s) as he did with the Astros/Dodgers (.220/.299/.335 line in 1166 PA’s). The infielder officially retired after the 2002 season, which he played at Triple-A for the Colorado Rockies.
Even though Tim Bogar hung-up his cleats as a player in 2002, the former-player instantly become a sought-after coach. Bogar managed a variety of Single-A teams from 2004 to 2005, before being promoted to Double-A with the Akron Aeros, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. His success as a coach at the Minor League gained notice, as the Boston Red Sox hired the former-infielder as their first base coach in 2008. He shifted around the diamond to the third base side in 2009, but this past off-season, when Bobby Valentine was brought-on, his former Mets manager promoted him to bench coach.
It’s not uncommon that smart yet mediocre players turn into successful coaches, but regardless of Tim Bogar’s post-playing days success, Bogar will always be one of the many mediocre players to have graced the New York Mets organization.