Minor League Baseball’s career home run leader retires with more cardboard than you might expect

HessmanHe’s a real-life Crash Davis and just like the big-screen journeyman the career of former big-leaguer Mike Hessman is over.

If you don’t know Hessman, it’s OK — you’re probably like most of us. You might have one of his baseball cards long forgotten in a box somewhere — from back in the days when he was a rookie for the Atlanta Braves and a guy who finally got his shot after eight seasons in the minor leagues.

That was back in 2003, but he’s still in the news now.

HessmanBravesHessman decided on Saturday that it was time to hang up his cleats, ending a career that spanned so long that he’s finishing it as Minor League Baseball’s home run leader.

In 19 seasons down on the farm, he hit 433 home runs with a .233 average. Of all those homers, 323 were hit for Triple-A teams. In five seasons as a big-leaguer with the Braves, Tigers and Mets he played 109 games and smacked 14 homers and drove in 33 runs while hitting .188. Tack on a season in Japan, and he played for 16 different teams.

That’s a lot of bus rides and a lot of games — 2,252 to be exact.

The 37-year-old actually has 25 big-league Rookie Cards made back in 2003 by Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck as well as 19 certified autographs and a handful of game-used memorabilia cards, too. Oddly, though, he never appeared on a single Bowman card and didn’t have his first Topps card until 2010 when he was a minor-league veteran in the Pro Debut set — well after he was a 15th-round draft pick back in 1996.

Earlier this year, Topps noted his 400th career home run in its 2015 Topps Heritage Minor League Minor Miracles insert set. It was his first Topps card in five years.

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