Oct
31

The five longest homers of 2012

By

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees weren’t dubbed the Bronx Bombers all those years ago for no good reason. They led baseball in homers this season and not by a small margin either. Their 245 total dingers set a new franchise record and were 31 more than the second place Orioles. Of those 245 homers, a league-leading 138 came in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Their 107 road homers also led baseball, so they were an equal-opportunity homer hitting team in 2012.

The longest homer hit by any player this summer was a bit of a perfect storm, featuring Giancarlo Stanton and Coors Field. Josh Roenicke hung a slider and the poor ball nearly cleared the bleachers in straight-away center field, 494 feet away from home plate. Here’s video. The longest non-Coors Field homer of the season was this blast by Edwin Encarnacion, which traveled 488 feet. No one on the Yankees hit a ball close to that far this season, but what they lacked in distance they made up for in volume. With a big assist from Hit Tracker, here are the team’s five longest homers of the season.

August 13th: Eric Chavez vs. Ryan Dempster (video)
Chavez’s first season with the Yankees was successful, but it also featured a lot of singles. He only went deep twice all year, but in 2012 he rediscovered his power stroke and hit 16 homers, his most since 2006. The Yankees had roughed up Dempster earlier in this game but the right-hander, who had just been acquired at the deadline, stuck around because he settled down. His first pitch of the sixth inning was a flat, ugly slider that just spun out over the plate and didn’t break an inch. Total hanger. Chavez did what he was supposed to do and clobbered the pitch, hitting it over the home bullpen and into the right-center field bleachers in Yankee Stadium. We haven’t seen many balls hit there over the years. Distance: 441 feet

October 1st: Robinson Cano vs. Clay Buchholz (video)
The Yankees annihilated the Red Sox in the final series of the season, starting with Buchholz in the opener. The first pitch of the second inning was supposed to be a little two-seamer down-and-away to New York’s cleanup hitter, but Buchholz left the 91 mph pitch up and right over the heart of the plate. Cano jumped all over it and lined the pitch to center field, clanking it off the windows of the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar for a solo homer to open the scoring in the game. You can count on one hand the number of players to hit a ball off the windows of the restaurant at the New Stadium. The homer was his 31st of the season, establishing a new career-high that he later extended later in the series. Distance: 446 feet

August 11th: Casey McGehee vs. Aaron Laffey (video)
McGehee only hit one homer with the Yankees after being acquired from the Pirates at the traded deadline, but boy did he make it count. New York held a slim 1-0 fourth inning lead over the Blue Jays when Laffey, a former Yankee, missed inside with an 89 mph fastball in a 1-1 count. The pitch leaked out over the plate and McGehee clobbered it, hitting a three-run homer into the second deck in straight away center field at the Rogers Centre. Most of his power is the other way to right, but an 89 mph heater out over the plate is begging to be turned on. Rajai Davis would rob McGehee of his second homer as a Yankee in the same series, but this one was hit far enough that no one was bringing it back. Distance: 449 feet

(Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)

May 27th: Andruw Jones vs. Tommy Milone (video)
I’ve said it numerous times before, but I believe that Jones had the most raw power on the Yankees these last two years. He homers in batting practice were just incredible, both in terms of ball-off-the-bat speed and pure distance. No one on the team could match him. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that Andruw hit the second longest homer of the season then, a solo homer off the facing of the upper deck in left-center field in Oakland. It came on Milone’s first pitch — an 86 mph fastball on the outer third — of the second inning. There’s no mystery or great story to be told here. Milone caught way too much of the plate with one of his fringy fastballs and Jones put it into orbit. Distance: 454 feet

June 3rd: Alex Rodriguez vs. Justin Verlander (video)
Every once in a while we get a glimpse of the old A-Rod, the guy who could turn on any fastball and drive it out of any part of any park. We don’t see much of that guy these days, but he popped up for a brief instant in a series finale against the Tigers in Detroit in early-June. The Yankees had worked over Verlander pretty well in the first, and they led two-zip when Alex stepped to the plate with one out in the third. The reigning Cy Young and MVP award winner showed the three-time MVP no respect, busting him inside with a first pitch fastball before missing away with a second pitch fastball to fall behind in the count 2-0. After a get-me-over heater for strike one and another fastball inside, A-Rod leaned into a 96 mph down-and-in heater in the 3-1 count for a mammoth solo homer. The ball hit the brick wall beyond the fence in left-center, a no-doubt blast that likely would have landed in the left field bleachers in Yankee Stadium. This game will be remembered for Phil Hughes throwing a complete game in the win, but A-Rod’s dinger was notable in its own way. Distance: 455 feet

* * *

It’s kind interesting that three of the club’s five longest homers came on the very first pitch of the inning (one slider, two fastballs), which is probably a coincidence more than anything. They were all mistake pitches intended to be down in the zone that hung up and said “hit me!” I was also surprised that Raul Ibanez didn’t crack the top five since it seemed like every homer he hit was a no-doubt bomb. Heck, he didn’t even crack the top ten. His longest blast of the year was this 430-ft shot off Hisashi Iwakuma on August 5th. It was the club’s 17th longest homer of the season. Surprising.

Categories : Offense
  • steve (different one)

    I can’t believe that HR that Ibanez hit in that first series against the Angels didn’t make it. It was a Sunday night game, I was in the stadium and my jaw just dropped.

    Not sure how they measure them though…if the ball hits the upper deck and it’s still on it’s way into outer space, how do they account for that?

    • steve (different one)
    • Ghost of Joe Dugan

      Poorly in my estimation. I have little confidence in projected HR distances when they land in decks. What do I know though.

    • http://ESPN.com ESPN HR Tracker

      As one of the trackers of these home runs, I can answer such questions, but the best suggestion I can give is to link you to Greg’s Q&A:

      http://hittrackeronline.com/howitworks.php

      Summary: the home runs are tracked regardless of where they impact so that they can all be measured equally- it doesn’t matter where the ball hits. We track the distance as it was actually hit, including atmospheric affects in the ballpark at the time of the hit, regardless if the upper deck/outstretched arm/chairback managed to “get in the way” of it’s flight path.

      Here’s the Ibanez one: http://hittrackeronline.com/hr.....d=2012_272

      RF stands at Yankee Stadium hang right over the field. They aren’t really that far (comparatively).

      • http://ESPN.com ESPN HR Tracker

        Also, to put the Ibanez one in a bit of perspective, you can use the drop-down overlays at the top of the page. Cool way to see the different ballpark dimensions.

  • mick taylor

    none of those home funs by the yankees would have gone out in death valley in the old yankee stadium because of the 457 ft fence and 461 in centerfield. had dimaggio played in a normal size ball park, he would have hit 500 home runs in 12 and one half seasons. in 1937, he had what i believe is the greatest season of any hitter, 46 homers, 167 rbis. had he played ina normal size ballpark he probably hits 60 home runs with 200 rbis. mel allen said he counted 15 balls that went over 400 feet that were caught. no hitter in the history of baseball had this unfair impediment that dimaggio had. in fact, if you compare his stats against common opponents. on the road to ted williams , using each players first 13 seasons, dimaggio had more rbis and a higher batting average dimaggio also averaged about 30 strike outs per season, williams ,75 yet williams had the higher career batting average. also dimaggio like michael jordan was a great champion, 9 championships in 13 seasons . finally, he lost his peak seaons, 1943 44 and 45 to the military. by the time he came back, he was already 32. he was the greatest all round player

    • 0 for infinity and beyond

      A-Rod couldn’t hit like Joe D and he certainly couldn’t get the ladies like Joe D could. A-Rod couldn’t carry Joe D’s bags!!!!

    • vin

      #homefuns

      Awesome typo.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        Home funs are the single greatest outcome of an at-bat.

        -Michael Kay

    • gc

      Could he also pitch?? Babe Ruth says hi.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        No mere mortal could ever compare to Babe Ruth.

    • Winter

      You want to talk about old ballpark dimensions? How about the Polo Grounds. 483 to straightaway center. What if Alex Rodriguez had played in the Polo Grounds, Willie Mays had played at the old Yankee Stadium, and Joe Dimaggio had played at the New Yankee Stadium?

    • Ghost of Joe Dugan

      Joe D hit 148 HR’s @ Yankee Stadium. He hit 213 on the road. His OPS was 0.077 higher on the road. I believe he has the greatest percentage of HR’s hit on the road among those that hit 200 or more. DiMaggio was the anti Mel Ott. He never hit 30 HR’s on the road so he would have needed to play in a very friendly home park to have ever hit 60 HR’s.

      All that and he lost his age 28-30 seasons to WWII. Damn you Hitler!

      • WhittakerWalt

        He was the opposite of Mel Ott.

  • 0 for infinity and beyond

    Look at Casey McGehee representing the Bronx Bombers. I hope they bring him back, I like him on this team.

  • 0 for infinity and beyond

    Where’s the 5 best bunts of 2012 list?

    • jjyank

      Do we really need a post on that? It’s so simple!

      5. DeWayne Wise

      4. Wise, DeWayne.

      3. Mr. D. Wise, Esquire

      2. Dewayne Is Wise

      1. The DeWayne Wise Epxerience

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        I’m sure one of Brett Gardner’s BP bunts would make the list as well.

    • Tcmiller30

      Is it possible that the best bunts are the ones that don’t happen, therefore, the best bunt list is actually the biggest WPA(?) plays of the season?

      Seriously though. I hate bunting.

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        But small ball wins Championships. Tampa Bay plays small ball and look at all the World Series flags they ha…. oh, wait a minute, nope.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    The 5 greatest RAB posts of the 2012 season???

    • JLC 776

      I want the top 5 Big Member posts!

      • 0 for infinity and beyond

        You want to see 5 big members? I think you are looking for a different site….

  • JLC 776

    There’s nothing quite like watching a monster, no-doubt home run leave a bat. Even better when live!

    I think my favorite ever was a shot from Giambi in some win that Randy Johnson started for us. I think it was off of Tim Hudson. He hit this three run blast that landed in the upper deck about as fast as I could stand up.