Two words and one distinct sound come to mind when baseball fans hear these names. This is because people have forever been enamored by the physical feat of propelling a ball out of a massive stadium.
It is never enough to just hit it hard, though. What really captures the imagination is when players hit it far. Which brings us to the eternal question: Who hit it the farthest?
Here are the stories surrounding the players, distances and exaggerations of the longest home runs of all time.
Before entering the big leagues, a slugger named Joey Meyer must be discussed. Meyer played only two years in the majors (1988 and 1989), but his minor league career was prolific. He mashed 30 home runs in 1984, his first minor league season, winning Midwest League MVP for the (then) Beloit Brewers.
His legend truly begins, though, as a member of the Triple-A Denver Zephyrs. Meyer was in the midst of a season that would see him hit 29 home runs in only 79 games. This campaign earned him a ticket to the major leagues.
On June 3, 1987 at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado, Meyer hit the longest verifiable home run in the history of professional baseball. Buffalo Bisons pitcher Mike Murphy threw a 2-2 slider that Meyer crushed 582 feet into the thin Colorado air.
While there have been tales told of home runs hit further, Meyer’s was the longest that was able to be measured and confirmed by modern technology. Its legacy is slightly damaged by two things; it was in a minor league game and it was in Denver, where balls travel farther than anywhere else in the MLB, due to altitude.
Regardless, it is not accurate to discuss the longest home runs in MLB history without at least bringing up Meyer’s moon shot. After his two year stint in the majors, he would go on to play a season in Japan in 1990. He was then traded to Pittsburgh, and played his final season with the Bisons, the team against whom he made history.
The longest (verified) major league home run
The Great Bambino hit a reported 714 home runs. Among those is the most widely-accepted longest home run in the history of Major League Baseball.
It happened at Navin Field in Detroit, Michigan on July 18, 1921. Babe Ruth smacked a 575-foot home run off of Tigers pitcher Bert Cole. This was before Navin Field added an upper-deck (and was renamed to Tiger Stadium), so the ball landed outside of the park near the intersection of Trumbull and Cherry.
Some say the ball traveled over 600 feet. Even more might say that this home run barely cracks Ruth’s top three longest shots. There will always be plenty of speculation surrounding the validity of reported distances of home runs hit such a long time ago.
However, in the absence of verifiable proof for those other stories, many baseball historians would rate Ruth’s 1921 homer as the closest to a sure thing.
Unconfirmed distances and tall tales
A litany of home runs have been said to have traveled farther than Ruth’s shot in Detroit. Including some hit by the Sultan of Swat himself. The distances of the following home runs, however, are for one reason or another unable to be confirmed.
Ruth may have hit a 600-650 foot home run in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1926. Curious, considering this came five years after the Navin Field home run, yet is unable to be confirmed. Tampa also claims to be the site of his longest homer. On April 4, 1919, he is said to have hit a 587-foot home run against the New York Giants. There is even a plaque in Tampa touting this feat.
Mickey Mantle may have absolutely crushed every record listed above. Against the Detroit Tigers, alone he is said to have hit a 630-foot (1953), a 643-foot (1960) and a 650-foot (1953) home run. He may have hit a 620-foot home run in 1956 against the Washington Senators.
Most unbelievably, according to some accounts, Mantle may have smacked a 734-foot shot in Yankee Stadium on May 22, 1963 against Kansas City A’s pitcher Bill Fischer. Some outlets have decreased the actual distance down to just over 500 feet.
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the tall tales told about 50 to 100 year old baseball. It does prove one thing, though; fans have always romanticized the long ball.
YouTube clip courtesy of PurpleWorldOrder
Featured Image courtesy of Bettman Archive
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