Watson: Mike Hessman, a true baseball life

From SABR member Owen Watson at Fox Sports on December 1, 2015:

Usually, the retirement of a 37-year-old journeyman who spent the vast majority of his 20-year career in the minor leagues is not a cause for reflection by most fans of Major League Baseball. A cause of wonderment, perhaps, at the drive of a player who would, year after year, continue to play past the point at which a full-time major league dream seemed out of reach. That assumes, however, that the player wasn’t incredibly accomplished, and just this past season set the minor-league record for home runs. All of it assumes the player isn’t Mike Hessman, the modern-day embodiment of Crash Davis.

Hessman’s is a true baseball life – not that of a storied major-league slugger, or a fire-balling ace who won 300 games – but a player who epitomizes the never-say-die attitude at the heart of many a great sports story. That perseverance deserves recognition, and today, we’re going to highlight Hessman’s career through a few key facts and graphics to try to capture just how special and zany it was.

First, the easy one: the home runs. Hessman hit a lot of them. Out of a total of 454 professional dingers, he hit 433 in the minors, 14 in the majors, six in Japan, and one while playing in Venezuela.

Read the full article here: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/mike-hessman-minor-league-home-run-king-retires-toledo-mud-hens-life-of-baseball-113015

Originally published: December 4, 2015. Last Updated: December 4, 2015.