The active minor league home run leader got the Rainiers last night.
Oklahoma City’s Mike Hessman launched a two run homer in the third inning, giving the RedHawks a 3-0 lead in a game they would eventually win on Thursday night, 7-1.
It was the 358th career minor league home run for Hessman.
Hessman is a 34-year-old first baseman. He originally came up through the Atlanta Braves system as a third baseman – they drafted him in 15th round of the 1996 draft, out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA.
Hessman has had many brief call-ups over the years, but he has developed a reputation as being an all-or-nothing guy in the majors: he might homer, but he’ll also strike out a lot and have a low batting average. In 223 major league at-bats with the Braves, Tigers, and Mets, Hessman has 14 home runs – and a .188 batting average, with 79 strikeouts.
In Triple-A, it’s a whole different story.
Hessman has hit 248 of his minor league home runs at the Triple-A level, with the majority of them (219) coming in the International League. This is his first season in the PCL, and he is currently leading the league with 29 homers.
I’m hoping Hessman wants to keep playing Triple-A baseball. He could make a run at 400 minor league homers for sure – heck, he might reach that next season. What about 500?
The all-time minor league baseball king is Hector Espino, who hit 484 homers. A superstar in Mexico, Espino hit 481 of his homers in his native country, playing from 1960 to 1984. He passed away in 1997 at a young 58.
The United States minor league home run record belongs to Buzz Arlett, with 432 homers. Arlett played from 1918 to 1937, and he started out as a spitballing pitcher in the PCL.
It would be fun if Hessman kept playing long enough to go after these records. Hopefully, he won’t start his earnest pursuit of them until his team leaves Tacoma on Sunday.
It’s Friday Night Fireworks with game time set for 7:05. Tacoma starts RHP Hector Noesi (0-3, 10.31) against Oklahoma City RHP Brian Bass (1-5, 6.75). You can listen to the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.
- We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- The Mariners were off yesterday; they take a seven-game win streak into New York tonight.
- The News Tribune has an off-day feature on former Rainiers reliever Josh Kinney and his slider.
- The Seattle Times has a feature on new Mariners outfielder Eric Thames.
- My main man Wil Myers has the No. 1 slot on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- In the PCL, Tony Abreu hit a three-run homer and Omaha defeated Reno, 4-2.
- Colorado Springs defeated Iowa, 7-4, and pulled within six games of first-place Reno.
- Sacramento scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and beat Memphis, 4-3. Sacramento ace Dan Straily was called up by Oakland and he makes his MLB debut tonight.
- Fresno needed 11 innings to beat Nashville, 4-3. Ryan Lollis had the game-winning RBI.
- Salt Lake infielder Ed Lucas had four hits and the Bees beat New Orleans.
- Not only did Las Vegas lose in Albuquerque, they had to deal with Cowbell Night as well.
- Tucson left-hander Andrew Werner pitched a complete-game shutout in Round Rock.
Off to the ballpark – there is only one remaining Friday night home game after this one. This season is flying by!