The 1995 Cleveland Indians were an incredible team. They are rightfully famed for their other-worldly offense, but their pitching was excellent as well. As we all know, they fell in the World Series that October, making them arguably the best team ever among those that didn't win the Fall Classic.
It's been 20 years since that team brought the city of Cleveland to its feet and ended decades of frustration with an AL Pennant. Throughout this anniversary year we'll be celebrating them, as the current version of the Tribe hopefully makes its own run to the postseason. Each week I'll look back at one of the key players from that season, counting down to the very best of them.
- 25. Wayne Kirby
- 24. Alan Embree
- 23. Albie Lopez
- 22. Jim Poole
- 21. Tony Pena
- 20. Herbert Perry
- 19. Mark Clark
- 18. Paul Assenmacher
- 17. Paul Sorrento
- 16. Eric Plunk
- 15. Ken Hill
- 14. Omar Vizquel
- 13. Sandy Alomar
- 12. Charles Nagy
- 11. Julian Tavarez
#10: Chad Ogea
Chad Ogea was the Indians' 3rd round pick in 1991. He made it to Triple-A by 1993 and made his Tribe debut in 1994, but only pitched 16.1 innings for the team that year. He was briefly with the team early in 1995, throwing 4.1 shutout innings of relief in his only appearance before heading back to Buffalo. (Buffalo had hosted the Tribe's Triple-A affiliate on and off in the 1980s, and then took back over in 1995 and remained part of the Tribe system through 2008, after which Columbus took over the gig.)
In early June though, Ogea was called back up, and on June 4 he was put into a game against Toronto in which starter Jason Grimsley had walked the bases loaded to begin the game, then given up three hits including a home run, while recording only one out. It was 7-0 when the half inning ended, and with David Cone on the mound for the still-reigning World Series winners, it looked like a lost afternoon for the Tribe. Ogea allowed a run without giving up a hit in the 3rd, making it 8-0, but the Indians started chipping away at the deficit, and Ogea settled in to pitch really well. By the time he was lifted after the 7th inning, Ogea had pitch 6.2 innings while being charged with just 1 run, and the score was 8-6. In the bottom of the 9th Jim Thome drove in a run with the second out of the inning, and then Paul Sorrento ripped the first pitch he saw into the seats for a walk-off home run.
After that, Ogea was moved into the rotation. He made a quality start in 5 of his first 6 starts, including a 3-hit, 1-run complete game against Seattle on July 6, and entered the All-Star break with a 2.19 ERA in 53.1 innings. He had a rough patch during the first three weeks after the break, but by mid-August he'd gotten things going again. In each of his first two starts during September, Ogea gave up just 1 run in 7 innings, but at that point (for reasons I don't recall and have not been able to track down) he was moved back out of the rotation. He wasn't injured, but pitched only two (scoreless) innings of relief during the final two weeks of the season.
He ended the regular season having pitched 106.1 innings, with a 3.05 ERA that was the lowest of any of the team's starting pitchers.
He was on the roster for at least some of the postseason, but appeared only once, striking out two batters in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the ALCS. Two years later Ogea would pick up two wins in the 1997 World Series, but that's a whole other story.
Ogea went from the farm to the rotation quickly in 1995, and did a great job with the opportunities he was given.