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By: Mike Felber Sat, 29 Oct 2011 03:28:03 +0000 Thanks Chuck, I was unsure of that. Have you ever heard that baseballs were more springy, at least a bit, in the original slugger's era? i read that, but not at all sure.

you are not so far off Jenkinson's official list Lawrence! Ruth, then Foxx barely above Mantle (for more 450'=-400' shots), then Howard, barely above Allen. Then Big Mac, & Jackson Stargell Killer (you forgot), McCovey. Gibson put #11, but he could have been higher. Williams #14. Dunn #1 currently.

Yes, many great distance guys, & while there seems a big correlation between HR guys & pure distance, it is imperfect. Allen lost the least distance to the opposite field. Mays & Aaron were never near the very top, & even Bonds on PEDs was not. Gehrig Greenberg Wilson just did not hit them quite as far as the elite guys.

Most of the top guys tended to be naturally bulky (i.e, without/before weight training & PEDs. Stretch, Williams & Kong less so, their length/leverage helped them. I really wonder if Adair was right: would a basketball center guy like Shaq, with great length & natural power, hit even further?

Hard to know. One, most of those guys are siphoned off to basketball or even football. Two, it is hard for someone so long to have the great reactions necessary for consistent dominance-an example is how long it took Randy Johnson to iron out the kinks in, or perfect, his mechanics-more chance for errors when you are so long.

By: Lawrence Azrin Fri, 28 Oct 2011 15:26:25 +0000 @41/ Mike Felber -
"... do you think that the AG HR contest balls have sometimes been springy ringers?..."

Mike, I think MLB has all but admitted that the baseballs for the 1999 ASG held at Fenway were more lively. Not only McGwire, but also Nomar, were really cranking the balls waaay over the net on the Green Monster in BP.

@38/ dukeofflatbush -
Yes, you're right about batters hitting HRs completely out of Camden and McCovey Cove, but it happens so rarely,it's not that useful computing distances for the average HR hit there.

So who would you guys list as the greatest "long-distance"HR hitters, here's mine:
1) Ruth (still the champ!)
2/3) Foxx or Mantle (I might put Mantle ahead for hitting themfrom both sides)
4) McGwire
5) Frank Howard

Roger Connor, Ed Delahanty, Sam Crawford, Joe Jackson (deadball era), Gehrig, Greenberg, Hack Wilson, Ted Williams, Dave Nicholson, Kiner, McCovey, Willie Stargell, Dick Allen, Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman, Schmidt, Jim Rice, Canseco, Bo Jackson, Jr Griffey, Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard, too many to list (i.e., this is _not_ definitive)

There's probably at least a couple hundred players who have hit truly impressive HRs in MLB games.

By: Chuck Fri, 28 Oct 2011 14:42:00 +0000 "Chuck, do you think that the AG HR contest balls have sometimes been springy ringers?"

No question.

They are made especially for the HR Derby, and are not even the same as those used in the game.

By: Mike Felber Fri, 28 Oct 2011 05:22:03 +0000 Huh, interesting. I don't know that Jenkinson tracked all the BP balls. 500' is pretty rare-a true distance, with a wooden bat. I recall Hamilton having the furthest shot last year, 485'. Chuck, do you think that the AG HR contest balls have sometimes been springy ringers?

Jenkinson did say Big Mac was unique in hitting further in his 30's. That before then he would not have been in th etop 30 distance hitters, though he ranked 6 all time after that. He did not even need to imply why.

By: Chuck Fri, 28 Oct 2011 01:44:11 +0000,r:6,s:0

Probably not the best picture.

This is Chase Field in AZ.

The three panels on each side next to the scoreboard can open and close like the roof can.

I saw Mark McGwire hit a ball through the open panel closest to the scoreboard on the LF side.

It was BP, but easily over 500 feet, more impressive by the fact it was BP.

A couple of pitches before that, he hit one even further but hit the upper left hand corner of the scoreboard.

Mike is right, each park has a measuring system that tracks trajectory and estimates distance if the ball had landed on the ground, these are the "official" measurements that are announced on the broadcast and entered into the ML scoring database.

I've seen a number of 500' plus homers.

By: Mike Felber Thu, 27 Oct 2011 23:54:31 +0000 Of course Lawrence, O am only talking about arm & bat power. It would take great accuracy & power to not NEED a cutoff man, & that would save time, but to ask that from anyone, especially throws to home, would be excessive.

Yes DOF, that would be great to see. I read Neon Dieon broke an agility test record involving scrambling speed. But I do not think that you meant he broke the national 100 yard record, just football one, right?

Bonds furthest blast, even after all the PEDs, was 493'. He consistently hit it pretty far after PEDs, & seemingly with relative ease, but even after PEDs never had the power of the best ever. Big Mac did-only after drugging it up. rated $6 all time by B.J., & credited w/a 535' during historic '98..

Only trouble I see with that prisoner being that accurate is 1) does he know if the ball is still rising? & 2) if it is, how would he know how much LONGER it would rise if uninterrupted?

By: dukeofflatbush Thu, 27 Oct 2011 22:54:49 +0000 @ Lawrence Azrin

To echo your sentiment, I also feel, while there are risks, it would be great fun to have an all around 5-tool competition, ala NFL’s Quarterback Challenge. It would be interesting to see who had the best first to third time, who had the best 90 ft dash, Infield arm speed, outfield arm distance, etc.
I have heard stories of guy’s at the NFL combine throwing a spiral 75 yards, drop kicking (punting) 75 yards in the air, incredible vertical, etc. There is a famous story of Dieon Sanders shattering the 100 yard dash record during his combine year. Supposedly, Sawon Dunston threw in the mid to upper 90’s (that coming from Mark Grace).
So during the HR derby, why not have contests in other categories as well. Good fun.
@ your #35, I think you are forgetting McCovey cove and Camden Yards. Only three or four guys have hit the warehouse in Camden and about a quarter of Bonds’ HRs ended up in the cove, so I’m sure you can get some measurements from those. I saw Bonds hit one during interleague play at Yankee stadium that landed ten rows back in the upper deck of rightfield. It was the farthest one I ever saw. Any one remember that one?
I also remember a story of a prisoner who made exact scale models of all the stadiums and he could extrapolate the distance of HRs, + or - a few feet. I’m sure someone with a degree in geometry or physics could figure out HR distance even if the shot is deflected by the stadium.

By: Lawrence Azrin Thu, 27 Oct 2011 22:05:07 +0000 @36/Mike F. -
Sorry I do not have time for the reply your deserves,but one short comment -

An important part of an outfielder's throwing skills is not only the ability to throw it long distances, but to THROW IT ACCURATELY - in particular, to hit the cutoff man. A long throw arcing over the cutoff man is not as useful as a shorter, flatter throw that does hit the cutoff man.

So, a measure of how long the ball is in the air may prove who can throw the ball the furthest, but it doesn't translate directly to who is the better defensive player. But then, neither do the longest HRs tell you who is the best hitter.

By: Mike Felber Thu, 27 Oct 2011 19:18:36 +0000 Thank you Lawrence. I have seen that article several times, just understand it was authored in '96, years before Jenkinson did his definitive survey of distance hitting (1st printing, March 2, 2010.

Sure, i said that rarely are balls uninterrupted. But there are ways to triangulate pretty well the likely distance of blasts. Angle & whether still rising when interrupted are the main things. I do wonder if there is more range of error than he thinks-at least if still rising when interrupted, how long it would rise is the crucial piece of info to know. If you know the distance at apex & angle you can accurately figure where it would end up.

It seems that there is an optical illusion that many balls are still rising when they are not. At least we can see when it would be impossible-like Mantle's '63 shot would have had to go at least 700' if still rising (& the optimum angle would have been higher). Yet I wonder how he can distinguish balls interrupted that COULD be still rising from those that just look like they are.

Yes, risk of injury may be the cause. Though I doubt that a well warmed up major league arm should have a very high risk throwing a few bombs, & I do not think they should be THAT careful. But why is it never done not only in the off season, but by anyone? Even amateurs, non ball players...

I never heard of injuries like Cobb's. But our default avatar Honus Wagner once set the world record, about 403', & from the report he may have thrown at higher than an optimum angle. If we really wanted to measure throwing power, apart from speed, we could take out the variable of the skill of throwing at the best angle, & just precisely measure how long the ball is in the air. That way if it is too low an angle, your distance would still suffer, but I surmise that if it was too high, not at all (unless so high that the angle is unnatural).

Steve Dalkowski was reported to have thrown over a 440' fence. For anyone interested in what-if legends, just Google him. Many alleged he threw the fastest ever. Though he had no control, was mentally limited & drank heavily. And he was around Pedro's size.