Triple-A slugger Mike Hessman became the sixth player to hit 400 career home runs in the minor leagues on Tuesday afternoon. Here is his milestone blast:
Only Hector Espino (484), Andres Mora (444), Buzz Artlett (432), Nick Cullop (420) and Merv Connors (400) are ahead of Hessman on the all-time minor league home run list, according to MiLB.com's Sam Dykstra. Espino and Mora spent most of their careers in Mexico, so Arlett, Cullop, Connors and Hessman are the only players to hit 400+ homers in American leagues. Hessman is only three home runs shy of tying Ollie Carnegie for the Triple-A International League all-time homer record as well (258).
Hessman, 36, was a 15th round pick of the Braves way back in 1996, and that year he hit one home run in 53 rookie ball games after signing. He has played at the Triple-A level every year since 2002, during which time he's hit .242/.328/.497 with 290 homers and 1,378 strikeouts in 1,248 games.
Hessman has played only 109 career games in the big leagues, most with Atlanta from 2003-04 and last with the Mets in 2010. He is a career .188/.272/.422 hitter with 14 homers in the show. Earlier in his career, Hessman played in Japan and represented the United States during Olympic play.
There is no glory in minor league homer records, but hats off to Hessman for sticking to it and continuing to live the dream of playing professional baseball.