Two decades have passed since Jamie Ogden retired from professional baseball due to a back problem, and he has hardly swing a bat since.
However, when Kenosha Kingfish, his team in 1992, invited him to participate in their Legends Weekend alongside several former major league stars, he couldn’t resist.
âI’m not very active so getting ready for this event took a lot of preparation, but it was worth it,â said Ogden.
The 49-year-old White Bear Lake realtor and former Bear team member in two sports competed in a circuit derby and celebrity softball game Aug. 27-28 in small town Wisconsin. Fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha also included music, water entertainment and fireworks.
The “legends” of the past were the great Paul Molitor of Brewers and Twins; Cy Young winner Rollie Fingers and Oakland A’s slugger Jose Canseco; twin pitchers Pat Mahomes Sr. (father of Chiefs quarterback) and Willie Banks; major leaguers Geoff Jenkins and Jeff Cirillo; and Wisconsin football stars Mike McKenzie of the Packers and Monte Ball of the Badgers.
The home run derby took place on a pier in Kenosha Harbor on Lake Michigan, lined with fans and live music.
âIt was a blast. Jamie tied for fifth with nine home runs, âsaid Teresa Ogden, Jamie’s wife. In the game of softball, Ogden played with a team of former Kingfish players and other local celebrities against the Legends. “Jamie went 2-2 with a homer and a double,” Teresa reported.
Ogden, a Realty ONE Vertical director who lives and works in his hometown, said it was “phenomenal” to play with these guys. âEnjoying the fans again was special. Especially Rollie Fingers. He was so excited to be around these fans and support the cause.
With the Bears, Ogden remembers attending all conferences four times, all state three times, and being nominated twice to prepare all-American teams. He won a gold medal at the Junior Olympics with the Northern team. Ogden has also made all-state basketball twice and placed second in a national dunk competition.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound southpaw initially enlisted at the University of Oklahoma to play both sports.
âBut the Twins drafted me in the third round and matched what we needed to sign,â he said, âso I went to Florida instead for a professional ball.â
Ogden’s first professional season was a very long camp at Fort. Myers, Florida. His 1992 season at Kenosha was his first glimpse into normal minor league life.
âIt was wonderful for me because my parents, my friends, and most of all, my girlfriend and now my wife, could come and watch us play all over the Midwest,â Ogden said.
âI did a lot of community outreach with my extra time there. That’s why they asked me to play and be known for hitting really long home runs – but not enough.
Ogden has played nine seasons in the minor leagues, the last three in Triple A with Salt Lake City. A first baseman and outfielder, he had a career average of .262 and 71 home runs. He hit .278 with 38 home runs in his tenure in Salt Lake City. Along the way, he was a teammate with Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Chuck Knoblauch, Dave Ortiz and Torii Hunter, and played against several Hall of Famers including Derek Jeter.
Ogden was on three major league camps and played twice in the Arizona fall league, but was never called up to the big leagues. He retired after the 1998 season with a back problem.
The reunion in Kenosha, with enthusiastic fans on hand, brought him back.
âIt was really good to hear, again, ‘from White Bear Lake, Minnesota’ when my name was announced,â he said. âWe have a special place here that I am very proud of. A land of legends.