The ‘Phillies 50’ series is all about recalling those players who had the least impact on various Philadelphia Phillies ball clubs during the half-century in which I have followed the team.
Each team from 1971-2019 (hopefully we eventually add 2020 as well) has at least one position player and one pitcher who featured a combination of minimal contribution to the Phillies along with an overall minimal MLB career.
Few players in this series fit the bill better than the pitching representative from the 1992 Phillies. The team went 70-92 in that first season under manager Jim Fregosi, becoming the first Phillies club in four years to finish in last place in the NL East standings.
That year, 26-year-old right-hander Darrin Chapin made just one appearance on the mound for the Phillies, one of just four appearances over brief promotions to Major League Baseball.
The first three of those appearances had come with the New York Yankees in 1991. An Ohio native, the Yanks had chose Chapin with their sixth round pick in the regular phase of the 1986 MLB January Draft out of a Cleveland-area community college.
On January 8, 1992 the Yankees sent Chapin to the Phillies in exchange for a player to be named later. That player would turn out to be third baseman Charlie Hayes, who would enjoy a 14-year big-league career.
Chapin pitched most of that 1992 season with the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons in the Phillies farm system. But in late April with the pitching staff in need of a fresh arm on a west coast road trip, he received the call.
Terry Mulholland had started for the Phillies and been roped around for seven runs and nine hits over just 4.1 innings. But newcomer Curt Schilling came out of the bullpen to slow the Padres down with 1.2 shutout frames in relief. It would be another three weeks before Schilling would be converted to a full-time starter.
In the top of the 7th inning the Phillies rallied for four runs to stretch an 8-7 lead out to that 12-7 margin. During that rally, Schilling was lifted for a pinch-hitter, opening the opportunity for Chapin.
He retired the first batter in the bottom of the 7th, Benito Santiago, but then began to unravel. A double by Darrin Jackson was followed by a wild pitch, and then Jerald Clark sent a full-count pitch sailing out deep on a line to left field. That cut the Phillies lead down to 12-9.
Chapin retired the next two batters to get out of the frame with no further damage. Then he produced a 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th inning in which he retired three big hitters in succession in Tony Fernandez, future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, and slugger Gary Sheffield.
Mitch Williams would come on to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 9th and Schilling was credited with just his second win as a Phillies pitcher. There would be 99 more over the next eight-plus seasons for Schilling. But for Chapin, this was the end of the road, at least where the big-leagues are concerned.
Granted free agency following the season, Chapin would pitch in the minor league systems of the Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins, and Cleveland Indians over the next three years. But he never would return to a Major League Baseball mound.
In 2004, Chapin was honored with induction to the Hall of Fame at his Ohio high school and was at that time living in Warren, Ohio – the town where he was born – with his wife, Liz, and the five children, Justin, Ryan, Tyler, Zachary, and Nadia.