For the second time in three years, the Yankees led the majors in homeruns in 2011, whacking 222 balls over the fence during the 162-game regular season. It was just about a 55-45 split between home (122 homers) and road (100), probably not as extreme as you might expect given Yankee Stadium‘s cozy right field porch. Unsurprisingly, a number of those 222 homers were absolute moonshots, traveling well beyond the MLB average of 396.3 ft.
The Yankees were in the middle of a stretch to forget in early-May, coming into this Friday night game in Texas having lost three straight and six of their last ten games. Thankfully, the Grandyman gave his team some breathing room with a first inning homer off the lefty Harrison, a two-run shot thanks to Derek Jeter‘s leadoff single. The 1-1 fastball traveled 443 ft., and landed in the second deck in right-center field, well beyond (and above) the Rangers bullpen. For good measure, Granderson hit another homer later in the game, but that one only traveled 411 ft.
Not only was this the fourth longest homer of the Yankees season, it was also their third longest plate appearance. The Yanks and Royals had been trading blows for the first three innings of this game, and Mark Teixeira had just singled in a run to make it 5-5 when Cano stepped to the plate. Duffy appeared to be running on fumes, and sure enough he fell behind in the count 3-1. That’s when Robbie started hacking. He fouled off seven straight pitches – fastballs, sliders, you name it – before the rookie southpaw hung a breaking ball on the 12th pitch of the at-bat. The no-doubt shot landed just shy of the fountains in right-center, 449 ft. from home plate. The homer gave the Yankees an 8-5 lead in a game they would eventually win 9-7.
August 24th: Mark Teixeira vs. Grant Balfour (video)
One week after Cano’s shot, Tex one-upped him with a game-tying, eighth inning solo shot. The Yankees were down 3-2 when Balfour grooved a 3-1 fastball belt-high and right over the plate to the first batter he faced. It was long gone off the bat, a mammoth 450 ft. blast that landed halfway up the bleachers in right-center. The Yankees went on to lose the game in extra innings, but they only got that far because of Teixeira.
The Yankees didn’t win very many games against the Red Sox early in the season, but the one time they did beat them in April, they did so on the strength of four homers. The third of those four homers came with the good guys up 7-4 in the sixth inning with Aceves, the former Yankee, on the bump. The Mexican Gangster quickly got ahead of Cano, but the 0-2 fastball was too far up in the zone and Robbie tomahawked it into deep right field for a solo homer. The ball landed in an exit ramp about halfway up the stands, and like Teixeira’s shot off Balfour, it traveled 450 ft.
Coming out of a stretch in which he went deep just five times in 182 plate appearances, A-Rod was in the middle of a homer binge in early-June. He’d hit two balls out of the park in the five games prior to this one, and he hit one out the next day as well. This sixth inning solo homer traveled further than them all though. The Yankees had jumped all over Carmona for an early 5-0 lead, but he was left in the game to take one for the team and spare the bullpen. The 2-0 sinker ran right back over the plate, and Alex launched the pitch to dead center field. It landed just to the left of the restaurant and in the first row of the left field bleachers, beyond Monument Park. At 460 ft., it was a) the longest homerun hit by a Yankee in 2011, b) the 29th longest homer hit by any player in 2011, and c) the second longer homer in the history of New Yankee Stadium.