Posts Tagged ‘Toledo Mud Hens’

That Mike Hessman, He’s Got Some Stories To Tell

Before this season, I drafted Mike Hessman as a third base option in my fantasy baseball league.  It seemed worth it after he  hit five homers last September.  Hessman stuck around on my roster for awhile, but when Detroit shipped him down to the minor leagues, I figured it was time to cut him and see what else I could find (the answer: nothing.  I’m stuck in 24th place and my offense has been awful).

Maybe I’m in 24th place because I suck at reading up on players, which is why silly me didn’t realize that this Hessman kid, he’s done some stuff:

The former International League MVP has done about as much as a Minor Leaguer can over 14 seasons — a home run championship, an appearance at the Olympics and even a homer in his first Major League at-bat.

On Friday, the 31-year-old managed to add another chapter to his career.

“LP (manager Larry Parrish) came up to me and said, ‘Do you want to pull a Hoop?’ I didn’t know what he meant until he told me he wanted to know if I wanted to play all nine [positions],” Hessman told the Toledo Blade.

Four men have played all nine positions in a game in the major leagues (Bert Campaneris, Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon, and Shane Halter), but at the minor league level the feat has become sort of a fun thing that teams do to reward players when the playoffs are either clinched or out of reach. (I remember a few years ago, either 2003 or 2004, three Atlantic League players did it in the same game, and Adam Ricks did it last year for Winston-Salem after the team had already wrapped up a playoff spot.)

Hessman, though, was in a unique situation: when he came on to pitch the ninth, Toledo had a one-run lead.  He got the first two outs, but couldn’t seal the deal, giving up two runs and taking the loss.  In fact, it was sort of a forgettable day to remember for the veteran:

Hessman went 1-for-5 with a single and four strikeouts, was thrown out stealing, suffered his first blown save, took the loss and played all nine positions in the Mud Hens’ 12-11 loss to the Columbus Clippers.

That sort of describes his whole career in one sentence: a couple of really cool things mixed in with a bunch of stuff that just didn’t work out.

Advertisements

Two Games, Two Minor Leaguers, Six Homeruns

Going into last night’s game against the Binghamton Mets, Erie catcher Alex Avila was mired in a deep slump: 1-for 19 with two walks over his previous five games.

Avila took a liking to Binghamton starter Eric Brown, however, hitting three-run homers in the first and second innings as the SeaWolves jumped out to a 9-0 lead after two.  He later added a solo shot in the eighth to bring his totals for the day to three homeruns and seven RBI.

A fifth-round draft pick by the Tigers in 2008, Avila hit for some power in college, slugging 14 and 17 homeruns in his last two seasons at Alabama.  He struggled to put the ball out of the park last year in the Midwest League, homering just once in 213 at-bats (although he did hit .305), but is back on track this season with eleven round trippers in about 300 at-bats for Erie.

Avila is the second Tigers minor leaguer in as many days to hit three homeruns.  On Thursday, Toledo’s Brent Clevlen went deep three times in an 18-1 win over Syracuse.  Clevlen may not have had the best offensive performance in that game, however; teammate Jeff Frazier was 4-5 with a homerun and six RBI.

So…which Tiger is gonna hit three homeruns today?

Corporal Klinger Would Be So Proud

Some quick hits:

Our Sports Central (a fantastic resource that I just discovered) posted the top 15 clubs for Minor League attendance today. But they also printed this chart of the top 10 seasons for the Toledo Mud Hens.

Top Toledo Season Attendance Marks

1. 2007 — 590,159

2. 2006 — 569,380

3. 2005 — 556,995

4. 2002 — 547,204

5. 2004 — 544,778

6. 2003 — 517,331

7. 1953 — 343,672

8. 1997 — 325,532

9. 1927 — 316,328

10. 1996 — 316,126

[Our Sports Central]

Oddly enough, none of them fall during the heyday of M*A*S*H, which is honestly the only reason I know who the Mud Hens are.

and, in other news:

Northern League: The Calgary Vipers and Edmonton Cracker-Cats are apparently serious in their consideration of a move to the Golden Baseball League. The teams are not happy with a 2008 Northern League schedule that has the two teams playing each other 32 times to avoid travel expenses. One rumor about the Northern League had two of the league’s Chicago-based franchises considering a move to the Frontier League.

[Our Sports Central]

Is it too much to ask that they just trade nicknames? I’d love to see the Calgary Cracker-Cats. Seriously.