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Why aren't there more 500-foot home runs?

Discussion in 'MLB Discussion' started by soxhop411, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

    Really good article by ALEX SPEIER

    Rest of the article is at the above link.
  2. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

    Whenever this topic comes up I'm reminded of this posting in Baseball Almanac.
    I'm also reminded of a shot in 1970 by Frank Howard - also mentioned in the posting above - at RFK stadium when I was 15.  I don't know how far it was but it landed in the right-centerfield upper deck - about 15-20 rows down from the top row of seating.  They used to paint the seats white for those prodigious shots and I went back the next year and made my way up to that seat.  Man was home plate a long, long way away.  I believe dead centerfield wall was at something like 415 ft.
    Edit: Fun fact.  During the famous McGuire-Sosa duel in 1998, McGuire recorded 5 HRs over 500 ft, at 545, 527, 511, 509, and 501.  His average HR was 423.9 ft.  His shortest was 341.
    Sosa recorded only 1 HR of exactly 500 ft.  His average HR was 402.2 ft.  His shortest was 340.
  3. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

    I have no idea, but my general thought is: *someone* has to have the longest. Which means, of course, thgat someone has to hit a ball further than anyone else that's ever played. Of course it's going to seem unlikely.
  4. drleather2001

    drleather2001 given himself a skunk spot SoSH Member

    I swear Manny Ramirez hit one late in his Red Sox tenure that people thought might have actually been longer than Williams', but the measurer kept it shorter out of respect.
    EDIT: It's referenced here, it was 2001 (wow).  
    And here's the vid (the 2nd one, at :50):
  5. Over Guapo Grande

    Over Guapo Grande panty merchant SoSH Member

  6. bankshot1

    bankshot1 Member SoSH Member

    I was sitting in the Fenway CF bleachers in July 1975 when I saw Jim Rice teed off on Steve Busby and hit the longest home-run I've ever seen at Fenway. This was before the "600 Club" so there was probably the jet-stream effect, and before the centerfield scoreboard, so there was just a moderately high wall behind the seats in CF. Rice hit a bomb to straight-away CF, that cleared the CF back-wall (behind the batters eye) and from my vantage point some 430-450 ft from home that ball still had an upward trajectory as it left Fenway. It was probably a 500 footer.
    It was a holy-shit homer.
    IMO the "600 Club" really cut down on summer blasts.
  7. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Wasn't there an opposing player who hit a ball to RF a few years ago and there was a calculation that if it was hit with the same wind conditions as Ted's 502 HR it would have gone farther?  I'll try to find that.
  8. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

    Not to call into doubt the "upward trajectory" you mention, but the same post to which I linked above includes this "analysis":  I'm not a physicist or mathematician and really can't argue one way or another, but...
    I imagine similar physical characteristics are at play in Fenway.  In either case, Rice's bomb is certainty a monster shot by any definition.
  9. Smiling Joe Hesketh

    Smiling Joe Hesketh All Hail King Boron Dope

    I have a VERY hard time thinking McGuire hit one 545 ft. That's probably beyond the limits of human capacity.
    Mickey Mantle's HR out of Griffith Stadium was supposed to be 565 feet, but this article claims that to hit one 565 feet, the ball has to come off the bat at 131 MPH...10 MPH faster than has ever been recorded. So I'm skeptical.
    My guess is that there were never too many 500 foot HRs, that such HRs are extremely rare once measured accuracy, and legendary feats like 545, 527, or 565 feet are just that: legendary and stuff of myth.
  10. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

    There has to be video of the supposed 545 footer right?
  11. Stuffy McInnis

    Stuffy McInnis Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Here's hittracker's page on the supposed 545 ft shot. http://www.hittrackeronline.com/historic.php?id=1998_1360
    They credit it at 487 ft and explain the 545 ft estimate as trajectory error. It hit a sign after 436 ft. 
    and here's a very rough video.
  12. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

    I was at that game and remember the second one clearly. Not because I saw it go, but because most of the crowd never saw it. He hit it so high and fast that it was nearly impossible to track from the grandstand. In the video you can hear the muted reaction that turns into cheers when everyone realizes he's trotting around the bases.
  13. JGray38

    JGray38 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    I had seats on the 3b side for the Manny game. I was there with my dad. That home run was surreal. It went so high, so quickly that I lost sight of the ball and thought it was a pop up before I found it again as it was leaving the park.
  14. PC Drunken Friar

    PC Drunken Friar Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    God, I miss Manny.
  15. JimBoSox9

    JimBoSox9 will you be my friend? SoSH Member

  16. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    I'm pretty sure it was this 469 foot shot by Hamilton in 2012.  Once he it that it made it much more believable that Ted Williams could have hit a wind-aided blast that went another thirty feet or so.
  17. kieckeredinthehead

    kieckeredinthehead Member SoSH Member

    Or, as the article says, 119 with 30 mph winds.
  18. Harry Hooper

    Harry Hooper Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    The Globe might want to re-check that. I thought Boucher's hat was sitting on the empty seat next to him, and Williams' drive smashed into the hat. It did not bounce off Boucher's head.
    Didn't Mantle's 565-foot drive actually reach that distance after bouncing and rolling a good amount?
  19. yeahlunchbox

    yeahlunchbox Member SoSH Member

    I'm almost positive they had actually announced a distance on the telecast that was above 502 feet and then I assume when they realized that it would eclipse the Fenway Park record they downgraded it by a few feet.
  20. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    I remember watching a YT video of the longest homeruns ever hit, and a disproportionate amount of them seemed to have been hit at the Rogers Centre and at Dodger Stadium. I have no idea why, I guess I assumed the "official measurement" is different in every ballpark, and the ones in LA and Toronto were more generous. 
    For my money, this is the furthest baseball that has ever been hit. Measured at 535, it was found on a piece of driftwood on the other side of the Ohio river, meaning he hit it literally into another state.
  21. bob burda

    bob burda Member SoSH Member

    Very cool that you got to see that - I only got to read about it in Gammons' "Beyond the 6th Game." Gammons described the ball going out on the rise past the CF flag pole, and as you say, clearing the back wall.  IIRC Gammons wrote that Yawkey claimed it was "unquestionably the longest ever" hit at Fenway Park, and Yawkey went back a ways.
  22. fineyoungarm

    fineyoungarm tweets about his subwoofer! Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Thinner forearms.
  23. Average Reds

    Average Reds Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Back in 1974, Mike Schmidt hit a ball to dead center in the Astrodome that was estimated at the time to be the longest batted ball in MLB history.  The ball hit a speaker hanging from the roof 329 feet from the plate and 117 feet high.  Estimates at the time were that the ball would have traveled more than 600 feet.  The estimate was later reduced to the 550 ft range, but no one was really sure how to estimate it and no video exists that I can find.
    According to the ground rules, the speaker was in play.  (It had been assumed that no one could ever hit it.)  Had he been aware of the ground rules, Schmidt probably could have had an inside-the-park home run after the ball ricocheted off the speaker and into the field, but the two runners ahead of him froze and Schmidt had to retreat to first for the longest single in MLB history.
  24. Hagios

    Hagios lurker

    Lighter bats, and more compact swings in the modern game. 
  25. Toe Nash

    Toe Nash Member SoSH Member

    In The Last Boy Jane Leavy has a whole chapter about that which is worth reading (the whole book is, actually). It seems plausible that it went 535 feet on the fly assuming that the people who found the ball aren't lying, but would likely only have gone 460 feet without the wind.
    I found this PPT about it http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/Krannert-v3.pdf
  26. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

    It seems like the answer doesn't have anything to do with the equipment or players, but the new ballparks themselves. Those ridiculously long home runs were all aided by a whole lot of wind. As the seats behind the plate went higher and higher, the wind was cut down and the 500+ foot home runs disappeared. 
  27. BosRedSox5

    BosRedSox5 what's an original thought?

    There's a lot of buzz in this thread about Manny's light tower power in late June of 2001... but I was most impressed by the one he hit earlier that June.

    Hittracker (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/historic.php?id=2001_3837) believes that this homerun looked further than it was because of the vertically stacked decks at Skydome but he crushed this in a dome with no wind. Even if it was partially an optical illusion, it's one of the most visually impressive homers I've ever seen. 

  28. alannathan

    alannathan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    That was my analysis in the Leavy book as well at the PPT that was linked.  That chapter of the Leavy book is well worth reading, no so much for my analysis as for Jane's superb detective work.  I wrote an article about the HR a few years back:  http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/mantle565.htm

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