In 1995, the Mets’ vaunted “Generation K” got tons of press, as Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson, and Bill Pulsipher looked to be the young pitching stars of the future. To be honest, at that time in my youth, I didn’t pay all that much attention to it. Instead, another rookie caught my eye the following year.
Alex Ochoa had appeared in the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect list for three straight years, peaking at #35 in 1995. After a cup of coffee in 1995, he finally got an extended crack at the Big Show in 1996 and made a splash on July 3rd. Going 5-5, he hit for the cycle, becoming only the 6th Met to do so at that point. Fun fact: Ochoa holds the distinction as the only person ever to hit for the cycle in both the MLB and the Nippon league in Japan.
Not only had I taken notice of his impressive performance that day, but I was all the more impressed by a good amount of attention paid in the off-season’s baseball card market. Along with several “Blue Chip” and “Prospect” sets, Topps’ 1997 set of Season Highlights had Ochoa’s cycle among Paul Molitor’s and Eddie Murray’s 3000th hits, as well as Barry Bonds’ 40 home run / 40 steal season. I couldn’t help but take pride in his accomplishment, especially in the face of an otherwise depressing 71-91 Mets season.
Ochoa finished the ’96 campaign with an impressive .336/.426/.761 slash line in 82 games, and looked to be the Mets right fielder for years to come. Sadly, after failing to recreate his success during a disappointing 1995, he was traded to Minnesota, and finished an up and down career with an fWAR of 6.1.
When I poured myself a can of Forgotten Boardwalk 1916 Shore Shiver IPA, I did not do so with a beer review in mind. But after a few sips, I knew this beer. This beer was, for better or for worse, Alex Ochoa.
Shore Shiver pours a touch cloudy copper-orange. What really caught my attention was the nose. From the crack of the pop top, there was a huge bomb of resinous pine and a touch of citrus. It was a wonderful smell, and got my hopes up more than the nose of a beer usually does.
The resin continued on the palette, but gave way to a bit of a hay taste and a bitter downturn. Also of note was a distracting alcohol bite that brought a little cringe to my face. One that might have matched Ochoa’s throwing error on August 1, 1996, accounting for the 6th of the Mets’ club record 7 errors on the day. The brew ended a little thin and unfortunately lacking.
Scouting Report (20-80 scale)
A beer with seemingly great promise, only to fall short in the end. Comp: Alex Ochoa