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  • I may be all the derogatory terms you used, but part of me does believe that the power hitters and football and basketball stars of yesterday would still be stars now and flourish in todays games. The football players who appear smallish and slower when stacked up against todays athletes would BE bigger and faster if born in more recent times if given todays "advantages", be they artificial or real. The same is true of basketball players who actually had to be able to make the 15 to 20 foot jumper enough for their teams to score the 110 to 120 points in took to win in the 60s and 70s as compared to todays hulks who struggle to get to the century mark, even with a 3 point rule. Baseball never has been a big man sport necessarily, as skill and ability to make contact is as important, if not more important that "tape measure" blasts. I understand what you're saying but we can only compare athletes against those whom they actually played against and understand that people in general have increased in size and speed and have also chemically advanced the process at a rate even faster than would have come about anyway.......I think.

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    • And just how many years have you been studying this issue, chief?

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      • 1956 injun...

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        • Washington DC (Morning) Times May 3, 1897
          Attached Files

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          • Frank Howard at Crosley Field, 1962:
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Lpeters199; 01-31-2012, 03:13 AM.

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            • It's a wonder Frank never killed an infielder. Unlike many sluggers he had little uppercut to his swing, more level, something like Dave Winfield, wicked line drives.
              He hit the "quickest" home run I ever saw. Looked to be about 20 feet off the ground from the time it passed though the infield until banging into the bleachers................ a blur.
              I still recall the SS for a brief second appear to try and leap for the ball, it was that low.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                It's a wonder Frank never killed an infielder. Unlike many sluggers he had little uppercut to his swing, more level, something like Dave Winfield, wicked line drives.
                He hit the "quickest" home run I ever saw. Looked to be about 20 feet off the ground from the time it passed though the infield until banging into the bleachers................ a blur.
                I still recall the SS for a brief second appear to try and leap for the ball, it was that low.
                I think Howard almost killed Maury Wills once...Alston told Wills to get on Frank's case in his first spring training to motivate him, then told Frank that he shouldn't take that kind of stuff from a little guy. Howard had Wills up in the air by his jersey and Alston ran over to fess up to his prank and prevent the possible murder.
                "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

                Comment


                • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                  It's a wonder Frank never killed an infielder. Unlike many sluggers he had little uppercut to his swing, more level, something like Dave Winfield, wicked line drives.
                  He hit the "quickest" home run I ever saw. Looked to be about 20 feet off the ground from the time it passed though the infield until banging into the bleachers................ a blur.
                  I still recall the SS for a brief second appear to try and leap for the ball, it was that low.
                  Hawk Harrelson was on the Senators with Howard in 1966-67, and I heard him tell a story on the air about how there was a missed signal one day, with Howard at bat and a runner on third. The runner thought the squeeze was on, and broke for home with the pitch. Howard, however, had no intention of bunting. He sent one of his screaming line drives down the third base line, missing the oncoming runner by inches. I don't remember who this baserunner was, but I presume he needed a change of underwear.
                  They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Lpeters199 View Post
                    Roy Carlyle, Oakland Oaks, 618 feet:
                    What's that old parable about hyperbole? The "fisherman story", where the fish gets bigger every time the story gets told? Eventually, the fish quintuples in size over the years...

                    Look at the facts, guys. Seriously.

                    Hit Tracker has kept every single home run hit since 2005 (in a completely scientific manner, to boot). Not even counting the postseason, there have been 1,308,341 plate appearances in Major League Baseball (Hit Tracker counts those, too, regardless).

                    And in those 1.4 MILLION PLATE APPEARANCES since the beginning of 2005, guess how many 500 foot home runs have ACTUALLY been hit?

                    *Cue Drumroll*........................ONE. Adam Dunn, 9/28/07. Yep, that's it.

                    Here's the Video of That HR

                    This in an era where the average player is about 5 inches and 40 pounds heavier than they were in Babe Ruth's time (and to be sure, most of those 40 pounds are muscle, not fat).

                    These guys are BORN, BRED, AND TRAINED to hit home runs. Consider:
                    --]The HR% during Barry Bonds' career was three times what it was during Babe's career.
                    --The K% was more than double.

                    And yet, Ruth supposedly hit over 50 home runs over 500 feet during MLB games, between 1918 and 1935.

                    Here's that thread.

                    I read Jenkinson's last two books, and I went to the Museum in the house where Babe grew up last summer. It's patently clear that Jenkinson is a HUGE Ruth worshiper, and I'm sure Babe got the nod whenever subjectivity came into play. Many of these were based on second or third hand observer accounts. No film of the actual landing spots, in fact, basically no film, PERIOD. No specific atmospheric conditions that are absolutely necessary to make exact determinations such as:

                    -Speed off bat
                    -Elevation level
                    -Horizontal angle
                    -Apex
                    -Wind (sometimes we had hard data on this by Jenkinson's accounts)
                    -Altitude and other atmospheric conditions

                    Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs, and had the greatest HR hitting/slugging run in baseball history, gaining about 40 pounds of muscle using every steroid and PED available from 1998-2001. Bonds also did this with much better equipment and conditions for home run hitting than Ruth benefited from. The best Bonds ever did was 493 feet, and that was off Sean Etherton (6/6/2000). Based on Game of Shadows on all the evidence thrown out to Congress, he was fully juiced at that time.

                    And yet, how many 500 foot home runs did Barry Bonds hit in a 22 year career? ZERO.

                    Yet Babe Ruth hit over fifty 500 hundred foot home runs from 1918-35? What's more likely, that he did something 50 times that hasn't happened once in 1.4 million plate appearances since 2004, or that most of Jenkinson's research is, at best, based on totally unscientific (read: extremely unreliable) methods, and that his conclusions, ipso facto, are mostly erroneous?

                    Comment


                    • The Myth of The 500 Foot Home Run, 10/2/97

                      On June 24, fans at Seattle's Kingdome witnessed one of the most dramatic pitcher-hitter confrontations since Walter Johnson faced Babe Ruth. On the mound, the Mariner's Big Unit, 6'-10" Randy Johnson, the tallest man ever to play in the majors, and the most proficient strikeout pitcher in history. At the plate, Oakland's Mark McGwire, the best and strongest home-run hitter since Ruth.

                      Although Johnson whiffed McGwire twice on the way to a record-breaking total of 19 strikeouts, McGwire hit what was estimated as the longest home run in at least a decade. He got all of a 97-mph fastball, and launched it at 105 mph in the general direction of Canada.

                      On the radio, Mariner announcer Dave Niehaus marveled, "A high fly ball, belted, and I mean belted, deep to left field, into the upper deck! My, oh my, what a shot by Mark McGwire! That is probably the longest home run ever hit here. ... It will be interesting to see how far that ball will be guesstimated. ... We have often wondered if McGwire got ahold of a Randy Johnson fastball how far he could hit it, and I think we just saw it."

                      Shortly after, Niehaus gave the estimated distance: "538 feet--unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. The longest home run ever hit here in Seattle ... the longest home run I think I have ever seen hit." Not only that, it seems to be the longest ball hit since 1988, when the distance of major-league home runs was first estimated on a wide scale. Sports pages and broadcasters across the country are still heralding McGwire's homer as one of the great feats in slugging history.

                      But there's a catch: The 538-feet figure, announced by the Mariners about 40 seconds after the ball landed, was an overstatement worthy of P.T. Barnum. According to three physicists who have worked independently and have written extensively on the science of baseball, the human limit for hitting a baseball at sea level, under normal temperatures and with no wind, is somewhere between 450 feet and 470 feet.

                      Curious that anyone could hit a ball 538 feet in an indoor park near sea level, I called the Mariners to see how they devised such a spectacular number. The team repeatedly refused to explain how they arrived at the figure or to allow me to speak to whoever made the estimate. Mariners PR Director Dave Aust stresses that the figure is "a guesstimate." "We don't really believe in the process," Aust says, distancing the team from the McGwire number.

                      That "process" has evolved over time. In 1988, IBM established the "Tale of the Tape" program, devising a system by which home-run distances could be estimated. Sponsorship of the Major League Baseball-licensed program was assumed by telecom giant MCI in 1992 and redubbed the "MCI Home Run Program." The program's Web site lists the 10 longest home runs of the year and provides a searchable database of the home runs of the previous two years.

                      "We do not measure the home runs," says MCI spokesman Cal Jackson. The distances are estimated by the individual clubs and then provided to MCI. "We act as a warehouse for the numbers that Major League Baseball sends us."

                      Unsatisfied with the 538-feet number, I did my own figuring. I consulted the 1976 Kingdome blueprints, a more recent laser-survey diagram of the stadium, and the Seattle Times game story, and visited the park twice. Here are the facts: McGwire's homer landed in the eighth row of the left side of section 240 in the second deck--439 feet (measured horizontally) from home plate and 59 feet above the playing field.

                      How much further could the ball have gone? Based on a review of the trajectory charts in The Physics of Baseball and Keep Your Eye on the Ball: The Science and Folklore of Baseball, conversations with University of Puget Sound physicist Andrew Rex, and correspondence with aerospace engineer and baseball researcher Roger Hawks, I determined that the McGwire home run would have traveled about 474 feet. A mighty home run, yes, but still 64 feet short of the length claimed.

                      Rex and Hawks agree that any home run hit that far must approximate the "maximum-distance trajectory"--that is it can only be a high fly or a normal fly, not a line drive. McGwire's homer was a high fly, as Niehaus attested, and as was confirmed by his broadcast partner Rick Rizzs, who marveled at the ball's hang time. According to the Major League Baseball system, a high fly will descend at an angle whose cotangent is 0.6. In trigonometry-for-dummies terms, what that means is that for every foot the ball would have continued to drop vertically, it would have traveled another 0.6 feet horizontally. Here's the math: 439 feet + (59 feet x 0.6) = 474 feet.

                      McGwire's "538-footer" isn't the only questionable long ball of the season. The MCI Web site claims six 500-footers in 1997, five by McGwire and one by Colorado Rockies star Andres Galarraga, hit in Miami. Galarraga's home run, originally announced as 573 feet, then revised at the park to 529 feet, is listed at 529 feet by MCI. By my calculations, it probably went about 479 feet. And yet another reason to doubt the 1997 numbers: Apparently, the IBM/MCI program recorded no 500-footers from 1988 to 1996.

                      D on't get me wrong--all the homers listed on the MCI top-ten list were remarkable shots. And I'm not arguing that 500-footers are impossible. A few have been hit, but all were aided by altitude, the elements, or both. The best-known of these, Mickey Mantle's mythical 565-foot blast on a windy day at Washington's Griffith Stadium, probably traveled about 506 feet, according to The Physics of Baseball author Robert K. Adair.

                      The MCI Web site spells out the intended method of measuring these home runs. "Distances are measured using a grid system matched to each ballpark's unique parameters and configuration. Each home run is estimated based on how far it would have traveled from home plate on a horizontal line had it not been obstructed by something (seats, fence, roof, foul pole, other stadium parts, etc.)."

                      If every team worked according to the MCI plan, each stadium would be accurately diagramed with a fine-grained grid related to its seating sections, level by level. This would tell the estimator how far the ball was from home plate when it landed in the seats, bullpen, or other stadium area, and how high it was above field level when it landed. (In today's stadiums, very few home runs touch the ground before hitting something higher first.)

                      Working with the distance and height, the estimator would assess the ball's trajectory--was it a liner? a normal fly? a high fly?--and use a formula to determine the ultimate distance the ball would have traveled. Click for the formula.

                      In theory this is not a bad system, but in practice it's not always fully observed. Some teams work from arcs rather than grids, making the estimators' jobs more difficult. Some teams measure only to the point of impact, rather than to the likely field-level landing point. The Rockies don't have height data, and must estimate that dimension. The Red Sox can't see where balls, hit beyond "The Monster" into the street, land. If McGwire had hit his home run in Baltimore, for example, it would have been measured at about 448 feet under the Orioles' point-of-impact house rules. Such departures make the various major-league home-run distances inconsistent, and usually make them less accurate as well.

                      Major League spokesman Patrick Courtney acknowledges that there have been questions about the MCI program, and says that the measurement issue will be discussed at league PR meetings next month "so everyone will be on the same page for next year."

                      L et's hope so. Baseball, a game of inches and meticulous record-keeping, deserves accurate and consistent data, and these awful numbers have already tainted one set of record books. Click for the story. The pity is that the home-run-measurement program, as conceived by IBM in 1988, was never uniformly implemented. Now is the time for scientists to review and refine the system and for Major League Baseball to ensure compliance and train the estimators.

                      After a period of adjustment, during which many long home runs will seem puny, we'll slowly reacclimate ourselves to reality. Weaned off the inflated estimates, numbers that add 60 feet to big home runs, we'll finally appreciate the majesty of a 440-footer.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                        What's that old parable about hyperbole? The "fisherman story", where the fish gets bigger every time the story gets told? Eventually, the fish quintuples in size over the years...

                        Look at the facts, guys. Seriously.

                        Hit Tracker has kept every single home run hit since 2005 (in a completely scientific manner, to boot). Not even counting the postseason, there have been 1,308,341 plate appearances in Major League Baseball (Hit Tracker counts those, too, regardless).

                        And in those 1.4 MILLION PLATE APPEARANCES since the beginning of 2005, guess how many 500 foot home runs have ACTUALLY been hit?

                        *Cue Drumroll*........................ONE. Adam Dunn, 9/28/07. Yep, that's it.

                        Here's the Video of That HR

                        This in an era where the average player is about 5 inches and 40 pounds heavier than they were in Babe Ruth's time (and to be sure, most of those 40 pounds are muscle, not fat).

                        These guys are BORN, BRED, AND TRAINED to hit home runs. Consider:
                        --]The HR% during Barry Bonds' career was three times what it was during Babe's career.
                        --The K% was more than double.

                        And yet, Ruth supposedly hit over 50 home runs over 500 feet during MLB games, between 1918 and 1935.

                        Here's that thread.

                        I read Jenkinson's last two books, and I went to the Museum in the house where Babe grew up last summer. It's patently clear that Jenkinson is a HUGE Ruth worshiper, and I'm sure Babe got the nod whenever subjectivity came into play. Many of these were based on second or third hand observer accounts. No film of the actual landing spots, in fact, basically no film, PERIOD. No specific atmospheric conditions that are absolutely necessary to make exact determinations such as:

                        -Speed off bat
                        -Elevation level
                        -Horizontal angle
                        -Apex
                        -Wind (sometimes we had hard data on this by Jenkinson's accounts)
                        -Altitude and other atmospheric conditions

                        Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs, and had the greatest HR hitting/slugging run in baseball history, gaining about 40 pounds of muscle using every steroid and PED available from 1998-2001. Bonds also did this with much better equipment and conditions for home run hitting than Ruth benefited from. The best Bonds ever did was 493 feet, and that was off Sean Etherton (6/6/2000). Based on Game of Shadows on all the evidence thrown out to Congress, he was fully juiced at that time.

                        And yet, how many 500 foot home runs did Barry Bonds hit in a 22 year career? ZERO.

                        Yet Babe Ruth hit over fifty 500 hundred foot home runs from 1918-35? What's more likely, that he did something 50 times that hasn't happened once in 1.4 million plate appearances since 2004, or that most of Jenkinson's research is, at best, based on totally unscientific (read: extremely unreliable) methods, and that his conclusions, ipso facto, are mostly erroneous?
                        I'm not here to say how many 500 footer's Babe may have hit. But it seems obvious some of his home runs that left parks at certain points were easier to measure, not exact but easier than some we see today because most parks today are double decked or have bleachers, no way to ever know where they would strike ground level.

                        Hit tracker does a good job but what would be more accurate, using all that Hit Tracker uses to calculate the distance a ball "would have traveled" had it not struck some where in the bleachers, never reaching ground level. Or balls that left parks passing over a marked off footage barrier and landed on ground leveloutside of the park.

                        Wouldn't this one be easier and closer in acuracy, maybe not exact. July 18, 1921, Ruth hit a ball at Navin Field that cleared the corner in dead center field landed in the street. We have some info here, we know it was 467 feet to that corner and there are about a dozen rows in the bleachers, you can check distance and look at an overhead view of Navin in the 1920s. Would it be a srtetch to believe the ball was very close to or possible at least 500 feet. It has to pass that 467 marker, clear the bleacher rows and land outside the park.

                        Again, making no claims to how many Ruth hit 500 feet or more but a number of his home runs left parks where the footage was marked off, seems to me that an easier distance to estimate than the many long home runs today that are obstructed when landing in bleachers, never leaving the park, no way to actually see where they may have touched ground.
                        Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 01-30-2012, 05:33 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by slickmick View Post
                          However, unless the ball is significantly deader now, such beliefs are truly preposterous, and belie any modicum of common sense. I find it somewhat suspect (and forgive me if this point has already been made) that of the 10 all time distance sluggers, as purported by Jenkinson, there exists scant videographic evidence of the landing point of any home runs hit by two (Ruth and Foxx), and abundant videographic evidence of the distance traveled by any home runs hit by ONLY ONE (McGwire). For all the rest, the existing evidence of the landing points of their home runs would appear to be spotty at best, leaving any attempt to discern said distances at severe risk for hyperbolic interpretation and convenient exaggeration. (And this risk is even greater in the case of Ruth and Foxx). I love gator's HitTracker site, and I believe it represents the most accurate and thorough attempt at measuring home run distance ever undertaken. But I do disagree with him on one key point, and that is that bat speed is HIGHLY correlated with strength, and not as much as say, driving a golf ball, the result of technique. All things being equal, the stronger the baseball player, the quicker they can propel a given sized bat through the strike zone, and the farther the average ball that they make contact with with generally travel. Players are significantly stronger today than they were 40 to 80 years ago, so to assume the greatest distance hitters come almost exclusively from this era is to me, not incredibly well-informed. And keep in mind, for those of you who would argue against my theory that Jenkisnson (whose Distance book I thoroughly enjoyed, despite it's severe flaws) is a baseball romantic with a SIGNIFICANT bias toward players who hit their primes prior to the modern era, he also states that the fastest runner to ever player in the Major Leagues was Mickey Mantle. Not Bo Jackson, or Deon Sanders, or even Rickey Henderson, but Mickey Mantle. Think about it.
                          Actually...what he said!

                          (I hadn't read this post until just now, ironically)
                          Last edited by csh19792001; 01-30-2012, 05:39 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                            I'm not here to say how many 500 footer's Babe may have hit. But it seems obvious some of his home runs that left parks at certain points were easier to measure, not exact but easier than some we see today because most parks today are double decked or have bleachers, no way to ever know where they would strike ground level.

                            Hit tracker does a good job but what would be more accurate, using all that Hit Tracker uses to calculate the distance a ball "would have traveled" had it not struck some where in the bleachers, never reaching ground level. Or balls that left parks passing over a marked off footage barrier and landed on ground leveloutside of the park.
                            It's just physics, old buddy. It's one HELL of a lot more accurate than ANYTHING we had prior to the last 5 years.

                            The Methodology

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                              It's just physics, old buddy. It's one HELL of a lot more accurate than ANYTHING we had prior to the last 5 years.

                              The Methodology
                              Not buying, it's like saying, don't believe what you see. So if we know a ball clears a fence marked off at say 450 feet and we can see it lands about 20 or 30 feet past the fence, and makes contact with the ground, which was the case many years ago, balls leaving parks, not double decked, we should not even assume that the ball had to travel at least 470 or 480. This one is easy.
                              But we should believe that a ball landing in a second deck at a great height, some how we have to believe that we know it would make contact with the ground at what ever Hit Tracker said it would if not obstructed, say 450-480, what ever.

                              Which one looks closer to being more accurate.
                              Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 01-30-2012, 06:05 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Let me say, not here to put Hit Tracker down, I think it does a good job but still in the end, there is no way to know where some of these ball would land if not obstructed. I would assume it's close in most cases.

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