Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2:07 a.m.
By the time Phil Hiatt came to Las Vegas, he already had prodigious power. But he took it to another level with the 51s.
In 2001, Hiatt hit 44 home runs in 113 games, one of the best single seasons in Triple-A baseball history. It also included 107 runs, 99 RBI, a career-best .406 on-base percentage and the Pacific Coast League MVP Award.
Hiatt was called up to the Dodgers at the end of the year. In what would be the fourth and final call-up to the majors in his career, Hiatt hit .240 with two home runs in 30 games.
Hiatt’s career started as an eighth-round draft pick of the Royals in 1990. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1995 and bounced around with several organizations in the following years, signing with the Dodgers in 2000. His first trip to the majors was 81 games with the Royals in 1993. He also played 52 games with Kansas City in 1995 and seven games with the Tigers in ’96.
Hiatt’s power never really transferred to major-league pitching, but for his career, which ended in 2004, Hiatt hit 314 minor-league home runs. He had eight seasons with at least 20 home runs and two with at least 40, including 1996 when he hit 42 with 119 RBI before moving up to the Tigers.
Hiatt returned to Vegas in 2002 and hit 23 home runs with a .304 average.
When people came to see Hiatt, they knew they were going to get a show.