Posnanski: Mike Hessman, Buzz Arlett, and the minor-league home run record

From SABR member Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports on August 12, 2015:

The 433rd home run of Mike Hessman’s sprawling minor-league career skied toward the Fifth Third sign that towers over the scoreboard in left field. The ball easily cleared the fence and bounced in a gap underneath the Kroger sign. It landed on a concrete slab, bounced over a garbage bin, a recycling bin and a high iron gate and skipped on to Monroe Street where someone picked it up. He refused to return it. He sensed this was a famous baseball.

The Toledo Mud Hens are in negotiations with the man as we speak.

Mike Hessman is no legend. That’s not a knock. It’s a compliment. If he were a legend, his story would have a sad ring to it. If he were a legend, then you would look at his record 433 minor-league home runs, you would look at his 19-year career in Macon and Danville and Myrtle Beach and Greenville and Richmond and Toledo and Buffalo and Oklahoma City and Louisville and Maracay and Culiacan and Osaka, and you would think: “What a shame.”

But you shouldn’t think that, because that is not Mike Hessman’s story. He is not a legend; he’s a ballplayer. And he has lived the ballplayer’s life. “I feel honored, really,” Hessman says. “I feel special for being able to play the game this long. … I love getting out to different parts of the country, and the world, really. That’s the part I love. I’m a lucky person.”

Read the full article here: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/mike-hessman-minor-league-home-run-record/

Originally published: August 12, 2015. Last Updated: August 12, 2015.