<
>

Minors HR leader Mike Hessman to retire with 433 career home runs

NEW YORK -- Minor league home run king Mike Hessman says he is retiring as a player and will pursue a career as a coach.

Hessman confirmed his decision in a text to The Associated Press on Saturday.

Hessman became the career home run leader for U.S.-based minor leagues in August when he hit a grand slam to pass Buzz Arlett with his 433rd homer.

The 37-year-old Hessman is often compared to Crash Davis, Kevin Costner's character in the movie "Bull Durham," and perhaps fittingly, Hessman's slam was his last home run.

Hessman was a 15th-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and spent 19 seasons in the minors. He also played in 109 big league games spanning five seasons, last appearing in the majors in 2010. He also spent a season in the Japan Pacific League.

Hessman played the final two years of his career with Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit Tigers system. He hit .237 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs this season.