MUSIC, COMEDY and MORE
Mike Hessman song chronicles his storied 20-year career
Slugging infielder set the all-time minor league home run record
Retired slugger Mike Hessman is the subject of a new
song by Boston-area singer-songwriter Howie Newman
and is included on his most recent album, When You’re
Happy. Titled “The Ballad of Mike Hessman (Minor
League Home Run King),” it chronicles Hessman’s 20-
year baseball career that began in 1996.
Now a hitting coach for the West Michigan Whitecaps of
the Class A Midwest League, Hessman set the career
minor league record for home runs with 433.
He played 19 seasons in the minors, breaking the
previous home run record of 432, set by Buzz Arlett in
1936. Hessman also played in Mexico, Japan and
The Toledo Mudhens jersey Hessman wore when hitting
homer No. 433 – a grand slam against the Lehigh Valley
IronPigs on Aug. 3, 2015 – now hangs in the National
Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Ballad of Mike Hessman
(Minor League Home Run King)
Words and music by Howie Newman
(C) 2016 Howie Newman Chin Music (BMI)
"I read about Mike in Sports Illustrated and thought it was a very interesting story," said
Newman, who has penned 11 other baseball songs among the 100 or so that he has written.
“Here was a guy who must have really loved the game to have stayed with it that long and
persevered through all the moving around and changing teams.
"The irony, of course, is that 433 home runs is a tremendous feat but it came at the expense of
his ultimate goal, which was to have a long major league career."
Hessman, 39, did play parts of five seasons in the majors, logging 109 games with the Braves,
Mets and Tigers. He batted .188 with 14 home runs, 33 RBIs and 79 strikeouts in 250 at-bats.
He also represented Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and, fittingly enough, hit a homer.
About the song
“The Ballad of Mike Hessman” is a country-rock tune, featuring Newman on acoustic guitar along
with lead and backup vocals. The track also includes some nifty keyboard work by Tim Ray, a
longtime piano player for Lyle Lovett who has performed with Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt.
In the song, Newman notes that Hessman "just kept playing 'cause he loved it" but adds
"becoming minor league home run king was a blessing and a curse."
Click here for the lyrics.
The 10-track album, When You’re Happy, is available through Newman’s website. Individual
mp3s of “The Ballad of Mike Hessman” can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon and other digital
Howie Newman acoustic guitar, lead and backup vocals, harmonica
Tim Ray piano
Rob Ignazio bass, electric guitar
Todd Glacy drums
About Howie Newman
Howie Newman is a full-time musician and a full-time baseball fan who has been to 88 major and
Press, Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.), Lowell (Mass.) Sun and several other suburban
newspapers. Newman covered the World Series in 1985 and 1986.
He has combined his love of baseball with music, having produced two CDs of baseball songs,
Baseball’s Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2. Both albums have been accepted into the National
Baseball Hall of Fame Archive in Cooperstown, N.Y. His label is Major League Records and his
publishing company is Chin Music (BMI).
Newman’s other baseball compositions include songs about Johnny Damon, Mario Mendoza,
Doug Mientkiewicz, Tug McGraw and Bob Heise. For further information about his baseball songs,
He performs in a folk-rock duo called Knock on Wood that plays concerts all over the New