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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2007

Hens' Hessman named IL MVP


Mud Hens third baseman Mike Hessman has been named the International League s most valuable player.

Hessman leads the IL with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs. Toledo has clinched the IL West title for the third straight season.

The postseason awards and all-star team were selected by the league s managers, coaches, media, and club representatives.

Hessman and Mud Hens outfielder Timo Perez were named to the postseason all-star team.

Hessman, 29, was a major contributor on Governors Cup champion teams of 2005 and 2006, but his effort this season may be the best of his 12-year professional career.

Hessman has already achieved personal highs in home runs and RBIs, and his batting average of .254 is nearly 90 points better than a year ago. His 16th homer this year, hit on June 1 at Buffalo made him the all-time home run king in Toledo baseball history, now with 83 home runs as a Mud Hen.

This is Hessman s third season with the Hens, and his sixth in the IL. He played for the Richmond Braves from 2002-2004. Hessman was a member of the Atlanta organization for the first nine years of his career before signing with Detroit as a free agent following the 2004 season.

Hessman has played 57 games in the major leagues, including nine with the Tigers earlier this year. In addition, the slugger was selected to the IL all-star team for the midseason Triple-A All-Star Game.

Previous Mud Hens to win the IL MVP (in the modern era) were Phil Hiatt (1996), Tim Teufel (1983) and Joe Lis (1976).

Perez, 32, has been one of the IL s top offensive threats all season. He is among IL leaders with a .309 batting average (sixth), 151 hits (tied-first), 39 doubles (second), and 76 runs scored (first). At the Triple-A All-Star Game in Albuquerque, he was 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBIs and was named the IL s Top Star. Perez, a native of Bani, Dominican Republic, has played in 577 major league games, plus 333 in the minor leagues and 359 in Japan.

Other IL award winners were: Kevin Slowey, Rochester, most valuable pitcher; Joey Votto, Louisville, rookie of the year; Dave Miley, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, manager of the year.

The post season all-star team also includes: Joey Votto, Louisville, first base; Martin Prado, Richmond, second base; Brian Bixler, Indianapolis, shortstop; Jose Morales, Rochester, catcher; Ben Francisco, Buffalo, outfield; Justin Ruggiano, Durham, outfield; Shelley Duncan, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, designated hitter; Aaron Herr, Louisville, utilitly player; Kevin Slowey, Rochester, starting pitcher; Cory Doyne, Norfolk, relief pitcher.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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