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Does anybody REALLY believe in the Myth of Mantle's Blast?

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  • Does anybody REALLY believe in the Myth of Mantle's Blast?

    Okay, maybe the title of this thread is a tad misleading. I don't really know whether it's a myth or not. I do know that I have always been skeptical of a 565-foot homer. The link below is to another man's opinion. Question: Has anyone ever heard or read an account of this homer by Stobbs himself? What did he have to say about the mammoth blast? Are there any films or videos available of this home run? I have never seen one. Feel free to post your thoughts:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...yhoo&type=lgns
    Last edited by Dodgerfan1; 04-19-2008, 09:56 AM.
    Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dodgerfan1 View Post
    Okay, maybe the title of this thread is a tad misleading. I don't really know whether it's a myth or not. I do know that I have always been skeptical of a 565-foot homer. Here's another man's opinion. Question: Has anyone ever heard or read an account of this homer by Stobbs himself? What did he have to say about the mammoth blast? Are there any films or videos available of this home run? I have never seen one. Feel free to post your thoughts:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...yhoo&type=lgns
    I know that Mantle was capable of hitting 565', because he matched or exceeded that in Spring Training once - at Al Lang Field in 1956. With respect to his legendary blast discussed above, I would defer to Jenkinson, whose research and analysis is meticulous, and whose estimates are based on solid evidence and science.

    Below is a graphic of Mantle's historic 'Fountain of Youth' Home Run.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-18-2008, 07:13 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Proctor, CF View Post
      I know that Mantle was capable of hitting 565', because he exceeded that by about 22' in Spring Training once - at Al Lang Field in 1956. With respect to his legendary blast discussed above, I would defer to Jenkinson, whose research and analysis is meticulous, and whose estimates are based on solid evidence and science.

      Below is a graphic of Mantle's historic 'Fountain of Youth' Home Run.
      Proctor, do we have any other proof of the 567' homer Mantle supposedly hit at Al Lang Field besides the red arrow on the picture you provided that supposedly depicts the flight of the ball? I'm not doubting your belief in the shots Mantle hit, just doubting the distance of the shots. Even if there are quotes from eyewitnesses to the shot, I seriously doubt they could corroborate the recorded distance of it, just the fact that it was a titanic blast.
      Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dodgerfan1 View Post
        Proctor, do we have any other proof of the 567' homer Mantle supposedly hit at Al Lang Field besides the red arrow on the picture you provided that supposedly depicts the flight of the ball? I'm not doubting your belief in the shots Mantle hit, just doubting the distance of the shots. Even if there are quotes from eyewitnesses to the shot, I seriously doubt they could corroborate the recorded distance of it, just the fact that it was a titanic blast.
        The flight trajectory and landing spot of the ball were witnessed by numerous fans in the Spring of 1956, with the hit being legendary in St. Petersburg since that time. The landing spot and trajectory depicted is based on the testimony of one of a number of boys who regularly shagged BP balls at Al Lang Field in both 1956 & 1957 - two of Mantle's most potent years. The trajectory path and landing spot have been extremely well researched and are very close approximations. The unique nature and layout of the Fountain of Youth area beyond Al Lang's deep centerfield fence was such that it included distinct landmarks, which allowed for highly reliable identification of landing spots. These landmarks included not only the Fountain arrangement itself but also sidewalks approaching it from various angles - not to mention large trees garden areas, benches, etc., well known to the ball shaggers. This allowed for very accurate fixes on where balls landed.

        BP hits of similar distance by Mantle were witnessed by others that Spring, including his peers, when Mickey was hitting amazingly long - even for him. His 1956 Spring was an absolutely magnificent display of power - the greatest in the history of Al Lang.

        Thanks for the inquiry.
        Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-18-2008, 07:10 AM.

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        • #5
          Nice info about Lang Field Mr. St. Pete

          That Yahoo Sports article is actually quite good save the Santa stuff. Wouldn't say that baseball's first home run was in 1876 though.

          The original Mantle articles:
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            I'm not exactly sure what kind of bat Mantle used to swing with. But I can certainly tell you that there were a number of players way back then that preferred to carry heavier bats than today's players. And if this was the case with Mantle (as it was the case with Ruth carrying a 48 oz), then I deem it entirely possible for him to have hit a 565-ft homer.

            To put it simple: above average strength + extra heavy bat + perfect swing = monster HR

            Give Pujols or Ryan Howard such a bat and they'd probably be able to replicate the same thing.
            Last edited by rsuriyop; 04-18-2008, 10:54 AM.
            "Age is a question of mind over matter--if you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
            -Satchel Paige

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            • #7
              Im guessing it would be possible for mantle given the perfect contact with a heavy bat and a sudden gust of wind for a ball to carry 550+. Without wind assistance i doubt anyone could hit a ball so far.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
                To put it simple: above average strength + extra heavy bat + perfect swing = monster HR.
                Add 'fat pitch' and you really have a recipe.

                If anyone was capable of hitting a HR that, it was Mickey.

                Yankees Fan Since 1957

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                • #9

                  (1) 734 feet (5/22/63, Yankee Stadium Façade* – Pitcher: Bill Fischer, Kansas City Athletics – Left-handed)

                  Mickey said that the "hardest ball I ever hit" came in the 11th inning on May 22, 1963 at Yankee Stadium. Leading off in the bottom of the 11th, with the score tied 7-7, A's pitcher Bill Fischer tried to blow a fastball past Mickey.

                  Bad idea. Mickey stepped into it and, with perfect timing, met the ball with the sweet spot of his bat, walloping it with everything he had. The sound of the bat colliding with the ball was likened to a cannon shot. The players on both benches jumped to their feet. Yogi Berra shouted, "That's it!" The ball rose in a majestic laser-like drive, rocketing into the night toward the farthest confines of Yankee Stadium. The question was never whether it was a home run or not. The question was whether this was going to be the first ball to be hit out of Yankee Stadium.

                  That it had the height and distance was obvious. But would it clear the façade, the decoration on the front side of the roof above the third deck in right-field? "I usually didn't care how far the ball went so long as it was a home run. But this time I thought, 'This ball could go out of Yankee Stadium!'"

                  Just as the ball was about to leave the park, it struck the façade mere inches from the top with such ferocity that it bounced all the way back to the infield. That it won the game was an afterthought. Mickey just missed making history. It was the closest a ball has ever come to going out of Yankee Stadium in a regular season game.**

                  The question then became "How far would the ball have gone had the façade not prevented it from leaving the park?" Using geometry, it is possible to calculate the distance with some accuracy. The principle variable is how high the ball would have gone. If we assume the ball was at its apex at the point where it struck the façade, using the Pythagorean Theorem ("In a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides") we can determine the distance from home plate to the point where the ball struck the façade. Then we can use calculus to calculate that the distance the ball would have traveled would have been 636 feet. However, there are a number of undetermined factors: wind velocity, spin on the ball, the speed of the pitch Mickey hit, and others. (For a more complete explanation of the calculations and complete description of this and other Mantle homers, see Explosion! by Mark Gallagher. This book is the definitive book on Mantle's homers. Unfortunately, it is out of print. It may be available at your local library.)

                  So how do we get 734 feet? In the example above, we assumed that the ball was at its apex when it struck the façade. However, observers were unanimous in their opinion that the ball was still rising when it hit the façade. How do we determine how high the ball would have gone? In fact, we cannot. From this point forward all numbers become guesses, estimates of how high we think the ball might have gone. A conservative estimate would be 20 feet. Those 20 feet make a major difference. They cause our calculation to go up almost 100 feet, to the 734 foot number listed above. Is 20 feet a fair estimate? Those present when the ball was hit feel that it would have gone at least that much higher, and many feel that the 20 foot number is far too low. It is all just a guess.

                  This is a good example of what can happen with estimates, especially computer estimates that determine the length of home runs now. Most of the home run distance numbers used today are the result of computer estimates of how far the ball would have traveled without obstruction. (One of these programs gave the 734 foot number listed.) Whether or not this is a fair number is a matter of opinion. However, if the distance of this home run is disputed, then the distance of many of the home runs hit by today's players must be questioned. While the software used for home run distances has greatly improved, there remain questions as to its accuracy. It is important to note that many of Mickey's home runs were measured to the point they actually landed, leaving no question about the accuracy of the distance reported. (Click Here for an explanation of how the distance of Mickey's record-setting blast was calculated.)

                  * The façade was the decorative facing along the roof of the old Yankee Stadium. Mickey hit the façade in regular-season games at least three times during his career: May 5, 1956 off Moe Burtschy, May 20, 1956 off Pedro Ramos, and May 22, 1963 off Bill Fischer.

                  ** Legend has it that Mickey hit balls completely out of Yankee Stadium up to three times during batting practices. Supposedly Mickey did it twice left-handed and once right-handed. Witnesses of these incredible feats include fans, stadium vendors, teammates and opposing players.

                  http://www.themick.com/10homers.html#Home%20Run%20#1
                  Now I ain't sure of the 734ft HR but IMO I know this shot would have went further then 565ft.
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Hit tracker puts that blast at about 500 to 510 feet.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Old Sweater View Post
                      Now I ain't sure of the 734ft HR but IMO I know this shot would have went further then 565ft.
                      How do you figure that?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
                        I'm not exactly sure what kind of bat Mantle used to swing with. But I can certainly tell you that there were a number of players way back then that preferred to carry heavier bats than today's players. And if this was the case with Mantle (as it was the case with Ruth carrying a 48 oz), then I deem it entirely possible for him to have hit a 565-ft homer.

                        To put it simple: above average strength + extra heavy bat + perfect swing = monster HR

                        Give Pujols or Ryan Howard such a bat and they'd probably be able to replicate the same thing.
                        The article I provided says he used a 33 oz bat:

                        "In stepped Mantle against Stobbs, a middling left-hander. Mantle hadn’t felt right the first three games of the season, so he borrowed a 33-ounce bat from teammate Loren Babe. Of course his name was Babe."
                        Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It isn't simply a matter of bigger bat equals greater distance.

                          It is mass times velocity so we always have tradeoffs. If one could swing a heavy bat like it is a light bat then yes use a heavy bat. But the problem is that you can't really swing a heavy bat like a light bat.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yanks0714 View Post
                            Add 'fat pitch' and you really have a recipe.

                            If anyone was capable of hitting a HR that, it was Mickey.
                            I strongly agree, yanks0714. The very fact Mickey hit the facade is amazing in and of itself. And all witness reports I'm aware of are that the ball hit with terrific force - so much so, in fact, that the ball bounced back onto the field approximately 200', landing about 35' from second base. It was truly majestic - an epic event in baseball history.

                            Here's one look at his phenomenally powerful swing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etSfB...eature=related
                            Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-19-2008, 08:10 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Macker View Post
                              How do you figure that?
                              Hey, if Mickey Mantle said it was the hardest he ever hit a ball, it's good enough for me.

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