I can still remember watching a new call up for Atlanta in 2003. A tall skinny kid named Mike Hessman. 6'5" and only 215 lbs.
I saw his first hit as a big leaguer. A pinch hit homer.
He'd play 19 games that year, and 29 the next. Blocked by a pretty good team with lots of depth, he moved on. He played another 61 big league games over the next 6 years for the Tigers and the Mets.
But that's not the story. Hundreds, if not thousands of players can lay claim to that story. What sets apart Mike Hessman from all of those others is what he's done elsewhere.
Places like Oklahoma City; Louisville, Ky.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Greenville, S.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Macon, Ga.; Richmond and Danville, Va. to Aragua, Venezuela; Culiacan, Mexico; Osaka, Japan; and Beijing. Oh, and Toledo.
Toledo is where Mike, playing for the Mud Hens, hit his 433rd homer of his minor league career, breaking the record held by Buzz Arlett. Buzz held the record for over 80 years.
Others, like me, would say he did pretty damn good.