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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Can Mantle's 565-foot homer be matched?

By Greg Rybarczyk

Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most famous home runs in major-league history -- one hit by Mickey Mantle off Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Yankees publicist Red Patterson claimed the home run went 565 feet.

Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle's home run in 1953 landed in a housing development beyond the left-field wall. But did it really travel 565 feet?
Is a 565-foot home run feasible in today's game? Let's look at that from two angles.

The longest home runs still needed a little bit more oomph
While we may never know for sure just how far Mantle's historic blow traveled, we can use ESPN's Home Run Tracker to illustrate just how far 565 feet is by comparing it to some of the longest home runs from recent seasons.

On Sept. 27, 2008, Adam Dunn hit the longest home run of the last 6-plus major-league seasons, a 504-foot home run off the scoreboard in center field at Chase Field in Phoenix.

This ball left Dunn's bat at approximately 121 miles per hour, but in order for this home run to have traveled 565 feet, he would have had to hit the ball at about 131 miles per hour. The hardest-hit home run recorded in the majors over the last six seasons was just over 122 miles per hour.

On May 11, 2009, there were four home runs hit at AT&T Park during the Giants-Nationals game, helped by winds as strong as 28 miles per hour blowing straight out to center field. A perfectly struck ball hit to center field in those conditions would have to be hit at approximately 119 miles per hour to fly 565 feet.

Over the past six seasons, only 38 home runs have been hit that hard out of more than 34,000 total home runs.

On August 17, 2012, Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run at Coors Field, the highest-altitude ballpark in MLB, that came off his bat at more than 116 miles per hour and flew a season-long 494 feet. To get it to fly 565 feet, even in the mile-high air of Denver, Stanton would have had to hit it at more than 125 miles per hour.

Can 565 feet be reached in some ballparks?
Where would a 565-foot home run land if someone were able to achieve a perfect strike of the ball on a day where the weather conditions were most favorable?

Let's run through five ballparks just to show you how difficult a feat this would now be.

At Yankee Stadium, a 565-foot home run to straightaway center field would hit the lower quarter of the video board above the Batter's Eye restaurant. If the ball were hit to left field, it would land at the extreme back of the third deck.

At Nationals Park, a 565-foot homer would hit two-thirds of the way up the video board mounted high above the right-center field stands. To left-center field, a 565-foot homer would land on the roof of the Red Loft Bar.

At Fenway Park, a 565-foot homer to left field would land on the eastbound lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike. To right field, it would land near the top of the right field grandstand, well above the red seat commemorating the landing point of Ted Williams' famous 1946 homer.

At Wrigley Field, a 565-foot homer to straightaway center field would pass just to the left of the scoreboard in center field, passing it about three-fourths of the way up, and land on the northwest corner of the intersection of Waveland and Sheffield avenues.

At PNC Park, a 565-foot homer to right-center would land well into the Allegheny River (50-100 feet into the water), well beyond where any ball has landed there in the past six years.

In other words, hitting one that far will be a near-impossible achievement even for today's most prodigious power hitters.