On August 3, Logan O’Hoppe was enjoying a meal with family and friends. By the time he sat down for a late lunch with family and friends around 3:30, he’d already caught a game behind the plate for the Reading Fightin Phils and was excited to enjoy a nice Italian
On August 3, Logan O’Hoppe was enjoying a meal with family and friends. By the time he sat down for a late lunch with family and friends around 3:30, he’d already caught a game behind the plate for the Reading Fightin Phils and was excited to enjoy a nice Italian meal with the people he’s closest with.
But right he and his family settled in and ordered their meals, a phone call came that would chance the course of his career. It was his manager, Shawn Williams, calling to tell him that he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
“It kind of ruined the lunch because I was on the phone for the rest of the time and I didn’t eat anything,” O’Hoppe said of his deadline move.
That night, he went back home to New York with his family and flew down south the next day to begin the next chapter of his career with the Rocket City Trash Pandas. He arrived in the middle of the game on August 4 and took in his new surroundings before his first start on August 5.
“Coming into a new clubhouse, especially one that is winning like these guys are here, you don’t want to step on toes and get too involved too fast. All of these guys were so great to me.” he said. “I’m really grateful to be here.”
The transition has gone smoothly for O’Hoppe. In 18 games for the Trash Pandas, the catcher is batting .274 with eight home runs, 20 RBI, and 17 runs scored, all while handling a dominant pitching staff. In the 17 games O'Hoppe has started as a catcher, the Trash Pandas have won 15, feeling the immediate impact of a jolt in the lineup.
But for O’Hoppe, the move to the Rocket City in the Angels system is the next step on the road to the big leagues. That road began in New York on Long Island, where O’Hoppe grew up going to New York Yankees games. A strong high school career led him to commit to East Carolina University. But a different phone call in 2018 would set his career on the current path.
It was from the Philadelphia Phillies, selecting him in the 23rd round of the draft. At that point, he decided to forgo his college commitment and begin his professional career.
“As soon as my name was called, a switch flipped in my head. I did want to go to East Carolina for a while, but I also wanted to be a pro baseball player for as long as I can remember,” he said. “It was a chance that I wouldn’t have bene able to live with myself with if I didn’t hop on right away and I’m happy I did.”
Two years later, O’Hoppe found himself back in the Bronx, but in an entirely different fashion. When the 2020 season was delayed due to the pandemic, O’Hoppe was training on Long Island before heading to Philadelphia for “Summer Camp” in July ahead of the Major League season.
Toward the end of summer camp, O’Hoppe joined the Phillies for an exhibition game in New York against the Yankees. Pinch-hitting in the ballpark he grew up attending games at when he was younger, O’Hoppe flew out in his first at-bat in a Major League stadium.
“I was really wowed that I was there overall. I was very young at the time and I couldn’t believe it was happening,” he said. “That summer camp was the first time I was around the big league team and that kind of environment. I feel like it set a good foundation moving forward. It was a fun experience.”
That experience prepared him for another big league environment this past July, when he was named to the National League roster for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. The brief moment in the Bronx prepared him for the time out west.
“I was able to use that and learn that I needed to take the time to appreciate things and then focus on the task at hand,” he said. “I took my time before the game and I caught the second half of the game. But one I was in there, it’s just baseball. It was a great feeling, one I won’t forget.”
But this season, there was more than just reaching his goals on the field that were motivating factors in his success. For each home runs this season, O’Hoppe is raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation that raises funds and awareness for Childhood Cancer. Some of those closest to him learned they had cancer, and that became a motivator for him to start the challenge.
“My dad got diagnosed with cancer last year. You can’t do anything for him physically. You can’t change the diagnosis. But I wanted to do something about it and what better way to do it then just play,” he said. “I’m donating $25 for every home run that I hit this season. We have a good thing going, and I’m looking forward to building on it.”
To date, O’Hoppe has surpassed his goal of 20 home runs, having hit 22 between Reading and Rocket City with three weeks left in the regular season. But that is not the main goal for the remainder of the season.
With a strong foundation of support behind him and firmly entrenched in his new role as the Trash Pandas’ top catcher, O’Hoppe will look to continue his strong play, with the goal of a Southern League Championship within his grasp.