Leo: Returning to America
Mike Hessman has signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros. The Hess-man played in Toledo and terrorized the Clippers and the International League from 2005 to 2009, smashing 140 HR (he also struck out 747 times). He signed with the Mets in 2010 and suited up for the Buffalo Bisons. He played in Japan last season.
Hessman is Toledo’s version of Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni, a slugger with the ability to wow crowds with towering homers. He hit the most impressive homer I’ve ever seen in person, a blast in 2007 off lefty Brandon Claussen that disappeared over the left field scoreboard at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field. The ball disappeared into the darkness somewhere over a parking lot across the street. I like to think it still hasn’t landed.
Hessman’s return to the states is intriguing because he’ll be teamed with former Clipper and International league batting champ Jordan Brown, who also signed with Houston. The Astros also recently added former Durham Bulls star Justin Ruggiano.
I think I speak for many International League pitchers when I say I’m glad Houston’s Triple club (Round Rock) is in the Pacific Coast League.
“Life is a highway”
The Cleveland Indians equipment truck completed its cross-country tour Thursday and arrived at the Tribe’s facility in Goodyear, AZ. Pitchers and catchers report one week from Monday (2/20).
“Celebrate good times”
The Clippers will be celebrating the Triple-A National Championship during the opening weekend of the season. There are promotional items scheduled for the three nights:
Thursday, April 5 vs. Louisville (7:05pm) – National Championship Hat Giveaway
Friday, April 6vs. Louisville (7:05pm) – National Championship/Governors’ Cup Blanket Giveaway
Saturday, April 7vs. Louisville (7:05pm) – Governors’ Cup Trophy Paperweight Giveaway
The Clippers have also announced the Columbus Icons Bobblehead Series, celebrating the city’s bicentennial. Nine Columbus figures will be represented on Sundays at Huntington Park:
April 8 – James Thurber
April 29 – Eddie Rickenbacker
May 20 – Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy
June 10 – “Jungle” Jack Hanna
June 24 – Bobby Rahal
July 1 – Dave Thomas & Wendy
July 8 – James “Buster” Douglas
July 29 – Jesse Owens
August 12 – Woody Hayes
You can purchase a ticket for all nine Sundays for $135 per seat. Call 614-462-5250 and reserve your spot on Columbus Icons Bobblehead Days!