Sunday, August 07, 2016

Giancarlo Stanton hits one 504 feet at Coors (maybe)

Giancarlo Stanton hits one 504 feet at Coors (maybe)

Well, maybe not. Home run tracker estimated it to be 495 feet, with a launch velocity of 119.8 MPH.

Stanton once hit a ball that left the bat at 122.4 MPH, which is the known record, but that one did not travel as far because the lift angle was farther from optimal. As I wrote in an essay a few months ago, it is nearly impossible for a human being to hit a ball 500 feet at sea level without a tail wind because (1) it requires an exit velocity of about 120 MPH; (2) only one ball in every 60,000 is hit with that velocity; (3) only about one in 30 of those rare shots is lifted at the right angle of trajectory (some of them might even be ground balls).

I looked at the legendary homers in history and, among those unaided by altitude or wind, Mantle's facade shot at Yankee Stadium was the only one I could find which may have traveled 500 feet if unimpeded and allowed to drop back to field level, and even that one was not a sure bet. The estimates ran from 496 to 502. Stanton's longest in the home run derby was 497, a fact which is completely consistent with the hypothetical model. Since Home Run Tracker has been monitoring such things in the past decade, only one ball has ever traveled 500 feet: Adam Dunn hit one 504 feet at Chase Field. Dunn was 6'6", 285 pounds, and juiced up.

The theoretical limit for human beings as we know them today is 515 feet, but that would require the highest exit velocity ever recorded, and that rarity would have to be launched at the optimal angle for flight, and have the optimal spin. That combination is possible, but unlikely.

Let us note, however, that the wind can make a tremendous difference, so some balls have reached or exceeded 500 feet because of it.
Mantle's alleged 565-foot homer at Griffith Stadium really did go almost that far (about 542), but it was launched up into a gale-force tailwind gusting to 41 MPH.

Ted Williams' "red seat" homer was 530-537 feet, with a tail wind 19-24 MPH.

Reggie Jackson's blast in the 1971 All-Star Game was 539-541 feet, but the winds were 17 MPH, gusting to 31.

Dave Kingman hit one out of Wrigley that did not require any theory to get it back to field level, because it did land on the ground, 530 feet from home, but with a 16 MPH tailwind.

Glenallen Hill's blast onto the rooftop of the building across the street from Wrigley Field, the prettiest homer I've ever seen, did travel some 500 feet, but aided by an 18-MPH tailwind.

1 comment:

  1. Was Darryl Strawberry's shot off the lip of the Olympic Stadium roof one of the ones you analyzed? IIRC, the estimate on its distance if not impeded was 504, but that was using 1988 techniques. I'd be interested in knowing what today's techniques say about that one.