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Catching up with Mike Hessman in Japan

If you want to waste a few good minutes on the internet try to track down Japanese baseball stats without using the official English language website of Nippon Professional Baseball. Get the Japanese version of Rosetta Stone, check out some Japanese baseball stats and you could be speaking fluent Japanese by next weekend.

Hessman has had a lackluster first season in Japan
NPB Tracker/Orix Buffaloes

All I wanted to do was check out how ex-Bisons Mike Hessman was doing with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan. We all remember Hessman from his brief, but memorable stint in Buffalo last year. His home runs that regularly cleared the net in left field, ending up in the parking lot on the other side of the on-ramp for the 190 were nerly a nightly occurence.

Hessman was called up by the Mets in July of last season, and never came back, but his place in Buffalo Bisons' lore was sealed.

As a veteran (Hessman was 33 at the start of this season) in the twilight of his career who was sure to not be getting a Major League contract, Hessman decided to head to Japan and cash in before it was too late.

After hearing the news about Hessman heading to Japan, it was easy to envision the 6-foot-5 slugger becoming a legend in Japan. towering over his teammmates and hitting tape measure blasts. But that hasn't been the case unfortunately for Hessman.

Hessman has struggled to find playing time with Orix, appearing in only 30 of the team's 50 games. He has four homeruns and seven RBIs in 88 plate appearances, batting .207.

He's an easy guy to root for, and it would be great to see him end his career back in the states. He is a legend in Toledo, where he hit 140 home runs over five seasons with the MudHens. Hess was honored by the 'Hens last year when the Bisons went through Toledo for a four-game set, and it would be a fitting end to see him have on last hurrah in the International League.

But for now all we can do is navigate Japanese baseball websites and hope Hessman starts to get more at-bats. Picturing him over there evokes images of that "classic" Tom Selleck movie Mr. Baseball....let's hope his career over there ends up being a lot better than the movie.

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