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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Relieved Hessman sets IL homer record | MiLB.com

Ollie Carnegie isn’t exactly a household name.

Along with the smell of champagne and some Gatorade stains on his jersey, what Mike Hessman seemed to take away most from Monday night was a sense of relief.

Exactly one month after tying the International League career home run record, Hessman homered in the third inning of Triple-A Toledo’s 9-1 win over Indianapolis on Monday night. The round-tripper was the 259th for Hessman in the IL, surpassing long-time Buffalo outfielder Ollie Carnegie for the most in league history.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2014 at 06:42 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4740531)
The article says that Hessman is the seventh player to hit 400 minor league home runs. He now has 425 professional home runs overall (405 in the minors, 14 in MLB, 6 in Japan). Hessman has had an awesome, sort of throwback career. Though I'm sure he'd have preferred 8 or 10 uneventful years in MLB.
   2. CFBF Was Killed By The Mad Queen Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4740556)
Somewhere off the coast of Maine there's a lighthouse with a door leading to a parallel universe where Hessman has a nice little Major League career. A universe where he's left-handed or has slightly better contact skills or is a tick better defensively at one of his many positions. Such an awfully thin line for bench players.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4740568)
It's kind of surprising that Hessman has hung around this long. For a AAAA slugger, he never never put up gaudy mLB stats (career .780 OPS). He's always had power, but could never hit for a decent average, even in the minors.

I also surprised teams don't give guys like this a consistent Sept. call-up. Let them earn MLB min. for a month, and build up their pension. It's the least you could do for an mLB lifer. MLB can certainly afford it.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4740571)
For a AAAA slugger, he never never put up gaudy mLB stats (career .780 OPS).


Part of that is a function of him spending nearly all of his AAA time in the IL, rather than the PCL.

Good for him, sticking it out this long.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4740581)
I also surprised teams don't give guys like this a consistent Sept. call-up. Let them earn MLB min. for a month, and build up their pension. It's the least you could do for an mLB lifer. MLB can certainly afford it.


I think veterans in AAA like Hessman get much higher salaries than the shameful stipends that go to prospects. I remember reading something about how… Brandon Duckworth, maybe? got pretty much the MLB minimum for being in AAA year after year as potential MLB seventh starter.
   6. RMc's Got a Lot of Trouble at Stake Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4740584)
Ollie Carnegie isn’t exactly a household name.

He had a pretty strange career, too. Ollie played a handful of games in the low minors at age 23 in 1922 -- then disappeared from baseball for eight years before hitting .354 for a Class B team, then getting a promotion to Buffalo late in the 1931 season. He was a mainstay for the Bisons for a decade, blasting over 250 HR for them, then kept playing through the war years, finally retiring at age 46 in 1945.

So, why didn't he get a shot at the majors? Well, for most of Ollie's time with Buffalo, the Bisons weren't affiliated with a MLB team. (This was the 1930s; to paraphrase Bill James, "A guy wouldn't just hit 37 home runs one year and then go try out for the Red Sox; that all had to be worked out between the Bisons and the Red Sox.") And, of course, Carnegie was in his mid-to-late 30s by then, and obviously not a prospect. (It's even possible that a big-league team did show interest at some point, but Ollie preferred to stay in Buffalo, thank you very much.)

The real question is: where the hell was Ollie Carnegie from 1923-30, in what should've been the prime of his career? (Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to look it up.)
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4740585)
Part of that is a function of him spending nearly all of his AAA time in the IL, rather than the PCL.

True, but I'd still expect a slugger who was just a whisker shy of being MLB calibre to put up some 900 OPS seasons. He never did that until he turned 26, and even then it was sandwiched between a 738 and a 748 season.

Good for him, sticking it out this long.

Concur heartily.
   8. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4740597)
Ollie played semi-pro ball in Pennsylvania during those "missing" years.
   9. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: July 01, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4740631)
I'm surprised that Hessman got as many chances as he did. He hit 182/258/371 in AA at 22. That's terrible. But he spent the whole year there, and was sent back the following year. Now, the previous year he had slugged 500 in A+, but 15th round draft picks who can't hit in AA aren't usually given long leashes. As a 28 year old in Toledo he hit 165/206/406, which is also terrible, but instead of getting released he got another shot (and a cup of coffee) as a 29 year old.

But that's not meant as criticism, just a reflection of my surprise. He got to have an awesome job for 18 years (so far), and now he can tell his grandkids about his homerun record.
   10. RMc's Got a Lot of Trouble at Stake Posted: July 01, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4740644)
Ollie played semi-pro ball in Pennsylvania during those "missing" years.

It seems ridiculous that a potential MLB-quality player would be playing semi-pro, but in the 1930s, the good semi-pro leagues weren't much worse (in terms of money/prestige) than the minors were, and the huge gap that exists between MLB and AAA today wasn't nearly as wide eighty years ago. Some guys just preferred to stay in one town, playing baseball, being the big fish in the little pond.

Back in 1988 I interviewed an Arena football player, who had a few opportunities to play in the NFL (he was a kicker, and good one). He basically decided to stay in Detroit to play in the AFL, because he had family and a business he was running on the side; he didn't want to, as he put it, "chase a job around the country" just to play in the NFL.
   11. JJ1986 Posted: July 01, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4740792)
What's the career record for home runs in the affiliated minors? Hessman has to be close.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4740957)

What's the career record for home runs in the affiliated minors? Hessman has to be close.


Buzz Arlett hit 432 career home runs, although some of that was in the Pacific Coast League which wasn't affiliated at the time I don't think.

Hector Espino hit 484 career home runs, mostly in the Mexican League.

Randy Bass hit 238 minor league home runs and 202 in Japan.

The most prolific HR hitter in the minors recently other than Hessman I can think of is Phil Hiatt. He hit 314 career home runs in affiliated ball.
   13. flournoy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4741047)
Ernie Young hit 319 home runs in the minors. I remember him holding some sort of record, but I don't remember the details.
   14. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4741547)
I thought Crash Davis had the record.

That wasn't a documentary?
   15. Der-K should've known better than to fly on AA. Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4741591)
I hated Hessman when he was a prospect (w ATL) and rooted for him subsequently. At peak (a short peak it was), he had really good pop and plus D at third base (he was lousy w the glove in his early years). Though, strikeouts, man...

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