Inaugural Pelican Hessman now MiLB home run king

hessmanMike Hessman, a Loris resident and member of the 1999 inaugural, co-Mills Cup Champion Myrtle Beach Pelicans team, broke the minor league home run record on Monday night, blasting his 433rd minor league round tripper for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers). Hessman hit 23 of his record-number of home runs in 1999 with the Pelicans, when he spent all year in the Carolina League.

Hessman, 37, is in the midst of his 19th professional season and has spent time playing for 10 different minor league teams in five different Major League organizations. The slugger’s 23 home runs in 1999 one of his 13 seasons in which he has 20 or more home runs was a Pelicans club record for a single season until Cody Johnson hit 32 in 2009, and it is still the second-most in a single season in the 17-year history of the franchise. Since his first year in pro ball, Hessman has never hit fewer than 16 home runs in a season.

As of Monday night, Hessman has played in 2,073 minor league ballgames, hitting 394 doubles and 24 triples along with his 443 home runs. He is a career .232 hitter with a .466 slugging percentage.

In addition to his 443 minor league home runs, Hessman has clubbed 14 homers in the big leagues in parts of five seasons for three different clubs over an eight-year span. The California native hit his first big-league home run as a pinch hitter with the Atlanta Braves on August 26, 2003 off of New York Yankees reliever Mike Stanton. He hit four home runs in 48 games across two seasons with the Braves, another nine longballs in 29 games with the Detroit Tigers during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, and his most recent major league home run was his only one in 32 games with the New York Mets in 2010. In 109 big league games, he is hitting .188 with a .422 slugging percentage.

The Pelicans return home to begin a six-game homestand on Tuesday, starting with a three-game series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Photo courtesy of MiLB

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