Mike Hessman is an Oklahoma City version of Crash Davis, the veteran catcher in the movie Bull Durham.
The 34-year-old RedHawk slugger has hit more home runs in the minor leagues than any other active player, offers veteran leadership in the clubhouse and answers questions from the media with the standard baseball clichés that would make the character played by Kevin Costner proud.
On Sunday night, Hessman had perhaps the best game of his 17-year professional career and etched himself in RedHawk history by blasting three home runs in Oklahoma City's 6-5 win over Iowa. He hit 2 more home runs in Monday night's win over Iowa, prompting his teammates to change the name over his locker from Mike Hessman to Babe Ruth.
It was Hessman's second three-dinger game of his career. He became the fifth RedHawk to hit three home runs in a game since Oklahoma City became the RedHawks and moved into what is now called Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in 1998.
Hessman's previous three-homer game occurred while playing for Toledo in 2008, although he doesn't remember much about it.
“I have a short memory on stuff like that,” he said. “I don't follow a lot of the stats or my career numbers or things like that.”
However, the RedHawk first baseman always will remember Sunday night's game because of who was in the stands.
“My mom and cousin had just flown in (Monday) afternoon so they had just got here and to have a game like that, I will always remember that,” Hessman said. “It's nice to have some family in the stands when something like that happens.”
Hessman hit two home runs off fastballs from Cubs' starter Brooks Raley. His third homer, which proved to be the game-winner, was a 3-2 breaking ball with two outs in the seventh off Iowa reliever Jeff Beliveau. Hessman wasn't looking for a breaking ball.