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.
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 .Instead, 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) and 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…….