James Micah Hoffpauir was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 13th round of the 2002 amateur draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. The 6'3 outfielder/first baseman would go onto to play more seasons in an Iowa Cubs uniform than any other player in team history.
Hoffpauir made his organizational debut with the Cubs in 2002 with Class-A Boise of the Northwest League. He quickly made his way through the farm system, making it Iowa by 2004, appearing in one game for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate that season.
For the next six seasons from 2005-10, Hoffpauir would become a mainstay in the heart of Iowa's batting order. As of the end of the 2017 season, Hoffpauir is still Iowa's all-time leader in at-bats (1760), hits (523), doubles (121), extra-base hits (210), RBI (378), sacrifice flies (29) and total bases (903).
Hoffpauir tore it up in 2007, batting .319 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 82 games for Iowa. In 2008, he was one of the key offensives forces that led the team to a division title and playoff berth, batting .362 with 25 homers and 100 RBI in just 71 Triple-A games that season.
While Hoffpauir had a number of impactful moments with the I-Cubs, none were bigger than the historical achievement that he accomplished on August 9, 2008 in a road game against the Round Rock Express. It was in that game that Hoffpauir hit four home runs, one of the rarest feats in the sport. All four of his home runs were of the solo variety in a 15-3 Iowa win. He became just the second player in I-Cubs history to smack four homers in a game, joining Wade Rowdon who accomplished the feat on June 9, 1987.
Hoffpauir made his major league debut for Chicago on May 18, 2008 and played three seasons for the Cubs from 2008-10. He enjoyed his best major league season in 2009, when he hit .239 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBI in 105 games.
The I-Cubs legend took his talents overseas after the 2010 season, joining the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League. In three seasons with the Ham Fighters from 2011-13, Hoffpauir was teammates with former I-Cubs teammate Bobby Scales and an up-and-coming starting pitcher at the time, Yu Darvish. Hoffpauir batted .225 with 31 home runs and 88 RBI in 300 career games in Japan, finishing his career with the Ham Fighters at the age of 33.
Hoffpauir will go down as arguably the greatest Iowa Cubs player of all-time, playing more seasons in Des Moines than any other player since 1969. His raw power, on-field consistency and calm demeanor make him a fan-favorite to Cubs fans to this day.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.