Tape Measure Blasts at Yankee Stadium

Josh Hamilton hit two bombs last night, with the second dinger being an 447 foot moonshot. This was the type of home run that left no chance for John Sterling to have one of his classic mishaps.

Hamilton’s blast got me thinking about some of the longest home runs at the new stadium and old. Off the top of my head, I recall Russell Branyan hitting some balls that may still be in orbit, and he was my initial guess as having the longest home run at Yankee Stadium III. He made the top five longest home runs in the new park’s history, but I was relatively surprised to find out who held the record. Thanks to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, I was able to create a list of the top five, accompanied with video:

  1. Raul Ibanez (5/22/09 vs. Chien-Ming Wang, 477 feet)
  2. Alex Rodriguez (6/10/11 vs. Fausto Carmona, 460 feet)
  3. Mark Trumbo (7/13/12 vs. Hiroki Kuroda, 457 feet)
  4. Alex Rodriguez (5/19/10 vs. Wade Davis, 452 feet)
  5. Russell Branyan (7/2/09 vs. Chad Gaudin, 451 feet) and Robinson Cano (6/16/10 vs. Jamie Moyer, 451 feet)

These distances are called “true distance” by the Home Run Tracker, meaning how far the ball would have traveled if allowed to hit field level (with no interruptions such as the stands, fans, etc.).

My first reaction was surprise to A-Rod’s 452 foot home run; it doesn’t seem like it went as far as the Branyan and Cano blasts, nor Josh Hamilton’s yesterday. Additionally, with the naked eye, it looked like Hamilton’s long ball was a bit farther than Cano’s home run. Both were similar locations, but it appears that Hamilton’s was farther. But hey, that’s what physics classes are for.

The number two spot held by A-Rod was a nice shot also, but I’m not so sure that even hits the sports bar if straightened out. Perhaps it would have grazed the bottom of it, so again, Branyan’s seemed more impressive.

Before doing this research, I mentioned that Branyan’s history at the new stadium as most impressive. Now though, seeing the Ibanez home run, I wonder if it that would have had a chance to hit on top of the sports bar where concession stand lies if it was more to dead center.

Trumbo hitting it out into the bleachers in left-center was a shot, but at the old stadium a home run out there was much further and prestigious. There was monument park and the bullpen that had to be cleared. In 2001, Tiger’s outfielder Juan Encarnacion launched one to the left-field bleachers:

“Encarnacion’s clout landed beyond Monument Park and into the left-field bleachers. The Yankees grounds crew measured the distance yesterday at 477 feet to the point of impact, without accounting for its trajectory.”

Who knows what the true distance of Encarnacion’s home run was, but there’s a chance it cleared 500 feet. Unfortunately, there’s no video to be found.

Another famed location to hit the ball out at the renovated old stadium was the batter’s eye in dead center. Any time a ball made it out to “the black”, you knew it wasn’t a cheapie. The most famous to make it out there has to be Reggie Jackson’s third home run of game six in the 1977 World Series. This home run traveled a purported 475 feet.

The supposed trajectory of Mantle’s shot.

The most legendary home run at any of the three versions of Yankee Stadium was hit by Mickey Mantle in the original park. On May 22, 1963, Mantle supposedly launched a ball 734 feet. This of course was an estimation, as it hit the facade above the right field upper deck. Remarkably, this was an opposite field blast, as the switch-hitting Mantle was hitting right handed against a left hander by the name of Bill Fischer. The home run was a walk off solo shot. Again, no video evidence for this one.

734 seems pretty ridiculous to me, but apparently all people who witnessed the long ball claim that the ball hadn’t reached the apex and was still rising as it hit the facade. A more “conservative” estimate on the site pegs the home run at 636 feet. Again, pretty unbelievable. If you’re curious about how the 734 was calculated, click here.

If you’re interested in further reading about some of the longest home runs in baseball history, the Baseball Almanac has an interesting read. The article talks about the Mantle home run mentioned above, and how it was likely impossible for the ball not to have already began it’s trajectory down when it it the facade. Again, be sure to also check out the Home Run Tracker, which has every homer since 2006 in its database.

What’s the longest home run you recall at any of the original, renovated, and new Yankee Stadiums? Let us know in the comments section!

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