Francis O. Hogan '97
Baseball | Hall of Fame Class of 2014
Harvard Athletic Achievements
They say that pitching wins baseball games and that is what the Crimson did during the Frank Hogan era of Harvard Baseball. A four year letterwinner under the tutelage of both Leigh Hogan ’75 and Joe Walsh, Frank was a commanding stalwart on the mound. In his 1997 campaign, he was the starting and winning pitcher against #11 Miami and #4 UCLA, both eventual NCAA World Series participants that year. The UCLA win was in the NCAA Midwest Regional and helped the Crimson to a 34-16 (18-2 Ivy) record and a third place finish in the NCAA Regional.
An Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection in 1995, Hogan garnered First Team accolades in 1996 and 1997. Frank’s senior campaign was punctuated with an 8-2 overall, 5-0 Ivy record and 1997 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year award.
Hall of Fame Introduction Video by Marty Nastasia, Former Harvard Baseball Assitant Coach 1996-1999
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I believe it was Mahatma Ghandi who said, “Ivy League pitchers could be God’s greatest gift.” It might also have been my mother. Not sure, frankly.
It is an amazing honor to be inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame, and I want to thank the Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for having the courage to induct a starting pitcher. Starting pitchers play just every fourth game, and even when playing they sit on the bench half the game and spit sunflower seeds. Let’s just say Olympic swimmers have better bodies than starting pitchers.
In the fall of my freshman year in 1993, my parents and I attended an orientation seminar in Memorial Hall. The speaker said most Harvard freshmen suffer from a condition called “Unwarranted Unworthiness.” Being surrounded by such incredible students and professors, it was easy to fall prey to such a condition. Thankfully I never did because I knew I was better than everyone else. In all seriousness, I recognized then the once-in-a-lifetime experience it was to attend Harvard University, and I recognize now what an amazing honor it is to be inducted today amongst my fellow student athletes. Thank you so very much for this honor today.
The most wonderful part of my baseball experience has been the relationships and friendships built over my 17-year playing career. To my fellow players, I cannot stress enough how much I cherish the memories we had collectively; and for those with whom I won championships, there is simply no substitute for that common bond. My senior year our team went 18-2 in Ivy League competition, and pitching coach Marty Nastasia once told me he hadn’t seen anything like the chemistry our team had that year. Seniors ate meals with freshmen, everyone got along, and pitchers and “regulars” were even cordial to one another! Across my career, I won championships in little league, high school, college, and professionally. The common denominator was team chemistry. Players set aside egos, worked hard, and supported one another to achieve a common goal. Our 1997 championship team had this chemistry, and I want to thank Captain Pete Albers and fellow seniors Mike Hochanadel, Craig Wilke, and Bart Brush for setting the example. That culture of support, selflessness, and sacrifice which led us to the 1997 Ivy League championship, and ultimately ranking 25th nationally in the NCAA that year, is the achievement of which I am most proud.
Our team’s cultures and successes were also driven by our incredible coaches and trainers, and to each coach and trainer I had during my tenure I want to thank you profusely. Specifically, I want to thank Head Coach Leigh Hogan for recruiting me to Harvard and somehow convincing a Texan that the winter lasted only four months as opposed to seven. Coming to Cambridge from Houston was a huge transition for me in many ways, and Coach Hogan made it feel like home. I also want to thank Assistant Coach Pete Wilk who helped me move to the next level as a college pitcher. Pete pushed me to demand more of myself, and I vividly remember watching film of my pitching mechanics with Pete and having an “Aha!” moment. Thank you so much, Pete. Oh, and thank you for recruiting the Classes of 1998 and 1999 (perhaps the two greatest baseball classes ever recruited in Ivy League baseball history).
In my junior and senior years, our team was led by Head Coach Joe Walsh, and Assistant Coaches Gary Donovan, Marty Nastasia, and Coach Gallagher. Under Joe “the Deuce” Walsh’s leadership, our 1996 team went to the Ivy League championship. Joe had tremendous confidence in our program, and in 1997 he put the Miami Hurricanes on our schedule. In the last game of our Spring Break trip that season, I started against the Hurricanes, pitched 8 innings, and our team won 9-6. I believe it was a watershed moment for our team because we knew that we could beat anyone in the country. Peter Gammons even wrote an article in the Boston Globe about the victory. He likened it to Harvard Football defeating the Notre Dame Irish. The analogy had greater teeth back then when Notre Dame Football actually won games. Most importantly, this victory cemented in our collective head that we were talented and should win the Ivy League championship. We did, went to NCAA World Series tournament, and we defeated UCLA and Stetson back-to-back to find ourselves in the winner’s bracket championship against Oklahoma State. We lost to the Cowboys in the bottom of the ninth inning with the tying run at the plate. We then lost in the loser’s bracket to UCLA, and our season ended.
We finished the season ranked 25th in the country, ranked 5th in the country in defense, and we were given a standing ovation by the Oklahoma State crowd of 7,000+ fans. That’s a memory I will never forget.
Thank you so much to the coaching staff that year that brought out our team’s potential. Thank you, Gary Donovan, and thank you Marty Nastasia, my pitching coach for 1996-1997, who helped me perfect my changeup. When you only throw in the, ahem, “mid-80s”, having a changeup is what enabled me to achieve success against all programs. Thank you so much for your dedication.
Thank you, Joe Walsh. As most in the Harvard community know, in the summer of 2012 Joe passed away quite suddenly. It was a devastating moment for the Harvard Baseball community as well as anyone who ever knew Joe. It was with incredible sadness that I and many of my teammates attended his funeral that summer, but I am so happy that I was able to play for Joe for those two years, and that we maintained a great friendship for 15 years after my graduation. I can still hear him say, “Frank-OOOOHHH!” every time I spoke to him. He was a great Coach. He was a wonderful man. Thank you so much to Sandra, Joe’s wife, and to Joe’s four daughters, for sharing Coach Walsh with all of us.
My baseball career would never have been as rewarding or successful without the love and support of my parents and three sisters. To my sisters, thank you for enduring the endless summer tournaments, the missed vacations, and the mosquito-infested fields of Katy, TX. You were always my biggest cheerleaders, and I am so grateful.
My dad was an incredible athlete in tennis, basketball, and football; but never played baseball. He was a state-champion in several of these endeavors, and he also played in college while successfully completing a Greek and Latin / Pre-Med curriculum at Georgetown University. He was an athlete and scholar, and he was the model for which I geared my own athletic and academic pursuits. He is a vicious competitor, and for those who know me well, I am too. Probably genetic. As a physician, my dad wasn’t able to attend every game I played in, but he attended the important ones. He was there when I beat Laredo Little League, Episcopal High School, Princeton, the University of Miami, and UCLA. He would say to me, “Just enjoy the experience, because championships don’t come around that often.” I have since found fathers who’ve had athletic success at higher levels preach the same message. I hope to do the same for my own four beautiful sons, and I thank my dad for serving as a wonderful role model in life. Great dad, wonderful man.
Undoubtedly, the bedrock of my athletic success should be attributed to my mom. She was my trainer, chauffeur, chef, psychologist, and biggest fan of my athletic career. I’m not sure how many times I left my glove at home or in the car, but she would always find it and deliver it just in the nick of time. In the years during my career at Harvard, my mom would bake and send cookies to the Harvard head coach. She sent cookies to Joe Walsh for a decade after I graduated. She went to see Joe at Harvard’s field just a few months before he passed, and he introduced her to the team as if she were royalty. My mom loves baseball, she’s always been my #1 fan, and she is one of the most unique and wonderful people on the planet. Thanks so much for all your love and support, mom!
Thank you to all of my former coaches: Tom Kutac, Bill Thomas, Jon Crane, Paul Wallin, John Spikerman, John Padilla, Warner Strang, George Nelson, Don Lewis, Doug Osborne, and Mike Rutledge. Thank you Pete Plummer for stopping in front of our house when I was 8 years old, forcing my mother to hand over my birth certificate, and actually enrolling me in Little League. Thank you Steve and Patricia McCrann for encouraging me to apply to Harvard, and for serving as my surrogate parents while in Boston! Thank you, Kelly, Lenchen and Fred for supporting my brief professional baseball career. Although it might seem trivial relative to my Harvard career, playing that season gave me another championship ring, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a renewed love of the game. Plus I will always have my own baseball card, and you can’t put a price on that! Actually I’m told mine is currently worth 4 cents on eBay.
Every time I watch a baseball team win a championship, at any level, and I watch grown men pile atop one another and act like children – I grin from ear to ear. Every time. I am blessed.