Category Archives: life as a minor league player

RULE 5 IS GOOD, BUT……….

At the Winter Meetings following the World Series, major league teams must decide on the 40 players they want to protect in a special draft that is commonly referred to as the Rule Five Draft.

The rule is basically a good idea as it prevents teamsimages (25) from stockpiling players in their farm systems and it gives hope to minor league players who may be languishing behind a all star major leaguer playing the same position. Depending on age when they signed, players become eligible after three or four years

Historically, players such as Roberto Clemente (above) who as we know turned into the steal of the Century for the Pirates, R A Dickey (left),download (9) Dan Uggla, and Jose Bautista (below) revitalized their careers after being taken in this draft. Last year, the Rangers caught lightning in a bottle when they selected images (26)Delino Deshields who became the Texas Rookie Of The Year. For major league teams, the price of a selection is a mere $50,000…….but there’s a catch……
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AND FOR SOME, THE DREAM NEVER DIES…….

My previous post highlighted a side of life we seldom see or think about for the 1,200 players who make it to “The Show”. Now, let’s take a look at the ones who never make it….the ones who are still chasing the dream.images-22

Meet Mike Hessman  (right) a veteran of 19 years in baseball’s minor leagues. A few days ago, he hit his 433rd home run as a minor leaguer playing for the Toledo Mud Hens. A grand slam no less.  His compelling and complete story is chronicled here. 

He’s often likened to Crash Davis, a fictional character in a well known movie. For Mike Hessman, he can only dream of making the money Kevin Costner did in that role.

And you don’t always get the girl like Costner did .18s0dimd5mghgjpgInstead, more often than not you get to play along with a amateurs marketing genius and help to conduct a mock funeral on the field  (Left) or toss water balloons at teammates. This all makes for family fun at Minor League Ballparks across the country, but a closer look at the economics of minor league baseball reveals a much deeper concern……..

Many players receive less than the minimum wage. A salary of $1100 a month (that’s $6.87/hour) is not uncommon plus they receive this only for the months they are actually playing. There is no compensation during the off season when they are expected to stay in baseball shape. A daily allowance of $20-25 as “meal money” hardly translates into another requirement – that is to eat healthy.

Indeed,  It’s A Harsh Life  (must read)  images-26and once again we need to remember that these are PEOPLE and not robots or wind-up toys. Hat’s off to Mike Hessman………and I hope #500 is on the way…….