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d provide a stern test for the A
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There could be some history made on Friday night in Buffalo. Mike Hessman of the Toledo Mudhens needs one more homer to break the all-time International League career home run mark. Before you say "big deal" as I was tempted to do, you should know who Mike Hessman is and how he made this journey over a long and varied career. First off he was born in Fountain Valley, California, and grew into the dimensions of a true slugger. He is 65" and 215 pounds. He was chosen in the 15th round of the 1996 MLB draft by Atlanta. He made it to the "Show" with the Braves in 2003. He had a long looping swing and struck out too much and generally over a short-lived big league career, the 3B/1B also seemed to be stuck behind better players such as Chipper Jones. Besides Atlanta, Hessman also made pit stops in Detroit and with the New York Mets between 2003 and 2010, hitting .188 with 14 home runs. Over time Hessman became a fixture in the International League. Now 36, he has slugged 258 homers in the "I" to tie the late Ollie Carnegie, who spent the bulk of his career playing in Buffalo. Carnegie played his final season with the Bisons in 1945. These two were a study in physical contrasts. While Hessman is 65", Carnegie was only 57" and weighed 175 pounds. Surely the Major League home run record is more impressive and more prestigious. Babe Ruth broke Roger Connors career mark of 138 back in 1921. The Bambino ran that total up to 714 by 1935, and that mark endured until Hank Aaron broke it on April 8, 1974 at Atlanta against Al Downing and the Dodgers. So Babe Ruth held the career home run record for 53 years. Carnegies mark of 258 has stood since the year he retired as a player in 1945. If you do the math, thats 69 years. Oddly enough Carnegie never played in the Majors, largely because he didnt start playing pro ball on a regular basis until he joined Buffalo at age 32 in 1931. Before that he played mainly semi-pro or amateur ball and held down a regular job. Nowadays 258 home runs doesnt sound like all that imposing a number. But remember today, its all about player development. If you dont make the Majors by your mid-20s or maybe late 20s if youre lucky, youre going to be out of a job. You have to have a special talent and be a unique individual, as Mike Hessman must be to stick around until the age of 36. Hessman had a bit of a scare about a week ago. He had to have some tissue removed from his nose and his forehead. Luckily it proved to be non-cancerous. He missed three games this week waiting for the swelling on his face to go down, then went 0-for-3 at Coca-Cola Field on Thursday afternoon. Friday night is the series finale at Buffalo and it would only seem fitting that he would hit his 259th homer in the city where Ollie Carnegie spent the bulk of his career and is enshrined in the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. When Hessman ultimately does break this record, he has other mountains to climb. He is also third on the all-time list of homers hit in the minors. Buzz Arlett is number one with 432, Nick Cullop has 420 and Hessman checks in with 403. Scoring Big Pitching and defence may win championships, but you cant deny the fact that the Blue Jays offence could carry them a long way. Theyve scored 311 runs in 61 games and slugged 87 homers, tops in the American League in both categories. You can add the total home runs for the Royals and Yankees and get 77, 10 fewer than the Jays, or the Rangers and Red Sox and get 85, still two less than the Blue Jays. In the runs scored category, the Jays have rung up 57 more than the second-best team in their division - Baltimore (254) - and then you drop off to Boston and the Yankees at 240 and Tampa Bay at a paltry 228. Boston was the runaway leader in runs scored in the American League last season with 853 and ultimately won the World Series. Im just saying. Unusual Moments This is something that happens so rarely in baseball, yet it happened twice in the last week. The Angels Garrett Richards and Clevelands Justin Masterson both struck out the side on nine pitches. Another oddity came on Wednesday when the Phillies 35-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins struck out four times in a game for the first time in his career, earning the famed "Golden Sombrero". The opposing pitcher though was Washingtons Stephen Strasburg, so well cut Rollins some slack. Rollins incidently is up to 2,226 hits now for his career. He needs nine more to pass Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt as the Phillies all-time hits leader. Since the Phils are having such a dismal season, the feeling is growing that Rollins will waive his 10-and-5 rights and will agree to a trade once the record is broken. The Tigers would be a perfect fit. The Atlanta Braves lead the National League East. Yet strangely enough, they have been held to 0 or 1 runs in a game a Major League-high 18 times. At the Draft If youre wondering why the Blue Jays used their ninth-overall pick in the Draft Thursday night to take a pitcher who just had Tommy John surgery in May, consider this. Veteran baseball writer Danny Knobler has seen Jeff Hoffman out of East Carolina pitch and said this of him: "He could be Justin Verlanders brother". Say no more! Reggie Gilbert Jersey .Two San Francisco radio stations say they wont play the song during the duration of the World Series. A Kansas City, Missouri, station responded with plans to play the Grammy-winning track every hour from 7 a. Ty Montgomery Jersey . -- Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer, Colby Rasmus drove in two runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 9-4 on Saturday. http://www.cheappackersjerseyssale.com/?...ersey-sale. In a matchup of teams battling head-to-head for the final playoff spot in Major League Soccers Western Conference, the Whitecaps run to the post-season took a hard hit when FC Dallas blew open a tie game with two goals in the final minutes for a 3-1 victory Saturday night. Jason Spriggs Jersey . -- Slugger Jose Abreu, All-Star left-hander Chris Sale and closer Matt Lindstrom are on the disabled list. Authentic Green Bay Packers Jerseys . The Ravens werent about to let it happen again. Carleton picked up its fourth straight national mens basketball title, and 10th in the last 12 years, with a 79-67 victory over its crosstown rival on Sunday.Salvador, Brazil - The United States did well to emerge from the "Group of Death," but the Americans are keen on making further waves in the World Cup, starting with Tuesdays clash with Belgium at the Arena Fonte Nova. You can listen to all the action on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto, TSN Radio 690 in Montreal, TSN Radio 1200 in Ottawa, and TEAM 1410 in Vancouver beginning at 4pm et/1pm pt. After opening Group G play with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ghana, the Americans looked certain to progress to the knockout round when they carried a one-goal lead into the final minute of stoppage time against Portugal. But a late goal from Silvestre Varela left the U.S. to fight Germany with a spot in the round of 16 at stake. The Yanks suffered a 1-0 defeat in the finale, but Portugals 2-1 victory over Ghana in Group Gs other contest was enough to put the U.S. through to the next round on goal difference. According to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, advancing from the toughest group in the World Cup was a great accomplishment, but he does not want the Americans to be satisfied with that feat. "Its a great achievement to get out of this group and into the knockout rounds," Klinsmann said following the defeat to Germany. "It was a difficult game, both physically and mentally, because the knowledge that a draw would be enough was always at the back of our minds. We were a bit too nervous and showed them too much respect at the start but we calmed down as the match wore on. Weve got a great team and we put in a superb performance. We could have created a few more chances but overall Im satisfied. "It was one of the most difficult groups at the tournament. Ghana and Portugal are good teams and Germany are one of the favorites to win the title. Were still learning and growing as a team. Now everything starts from scratch again because the knockoutt rounds are very different.dddddddddddd" Klinsmann made waves before the start of the tournament by stating that the United States realistically could not win the World Cup, but he signaled his true ambition for the team by instructing the players to plan for a long stay in Brazil. "I think if everybody goes to his own personal limit in the context of the team, were going to go further in this tournament," he told reporters. "But youve got to realize that moment. So I asked everybody, all the players, to make sure that all their flights are booked after July 13 (the date of the final). Thats just how you have to approach a World Cup, no matter what happens now. You can always change your flights, so start with the end in mind. The end is July 13. "Every single day were going to have on the knockout stage, can we do it? Yes we can. This is now one of the benchmarks. We want to be in the top ten, top 12 of the world one day. So if we want to be there, this is now the moment." Belgium should provide a stern test for the Americans, though. The two nations have faced one another twice during Klinsmanns tenure as U.S. coach with Belgium coming out victorious on both occasions. But in the World Cup thus far, Belgium has been slightly underwhelming. The Red Devils claimed maximum points from their three matches of the group stage, but the performances have been rather unconvincing. At many times, Belgium has looked disjointed, as if the immensely talented individuals on the team were playing for themselves. The Americans, by contrast, have been a well-oiled unit playing off one another both in attack and in defense. Belgium, strong on paper, coming up against an American side that has been made to grind out results makes Tuesdays tussle at the Arena Fonte Nova one of the more intriguing clashes of the round of 16. 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