The eighth pitch of the Angels-Royals game in Kansas City Friday night was a 90 mile-per-hour, 3-1 fastball from Jason Vargas to Mike Trout that was thigh-high over the outside half of the plate. You probably don’t even need to watch the video to know what happened to that pitch, but you should, because Trout didn’t just hit a home run, he hit a 489-foot home run that was:
- The longest of his career.
- The longest of the 2014 season.
- The longest in the major leagues since August 2012.
- The longest in the major leagues outside of Denver since 2009.
- The longest ever hit to center field in Kauffman Stadium, which opened in 1973, breaking Trout’s own record.
Trout’s shot landed in the center-field fountain behind the base of Kauffman Stadium’s famous scoreboard. According to the data on ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, the last home run to travel further was a 494-foot shot by Giancarlo Stanton (of course) at Coors Field (of course) on August 17, 2012. The last home run to travel farther outside of Denver was a 495-foot shot at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park by Wladimir Balentien, who broke Sadaharu Oh’s single-season Japanese home run record last year, on October 2, 2009.
According to the data on Home Run Tracker and in Bill Jenkinson’s book Baseball’s Ultimate Power, the longest home runs to center field in Kauffman Stadium prior to Trout’s bomb Friday night traveled 463 feet. According to Home Run Tracker, Jermaine Dye hit one that far on August 2, 2006 (Jenkinson lists Dye’s home run as 455 feet but still the longest to center in the stadium’s history through 2009), the White Sox’s Josh Fields tied it on September 17, 2007, and Trout matched them last year on May 23 as seen here:
However, unlike the longest home run of 2013, a 486-foot shot by Evan Gattis that still stands as the longest in Citizens Bank Park history, Trout’s home run Friday night was not the longest in the history of the ballpark in which it was hit. According to Jenkinson, Bo Jackson hit a shot into (or, rather, over) the left-center-field gap on September 14, 1986 that traveled an estimated 515 feet* to the back of the grass embankment about half-way between the flag poles and the first light tower in this photo. That home run was the longest of Jackson’s brief-but-legendary career. It was also the first.
Update: I found footage of Jackson’s home run. You can watch it below. However, much like the footage of his famous throw to nail Harold Reynolds at the plate, there’s very little of the ball in the clip. I don’t want to besmirch the director of the Royals’ telecasts in the late 1980s, but at the very least he was utterly unprepared for the things Bo Jackson could do to a baseball.
*The Royals list Jackson’s shot at 475 feet, but they only measure to where the home run landed, whereas Home Run Tracker and Jenkinson measure to where the ball would have landed if it traveled uninterrupted back to field level. The Royals thus list Trout’s home run Friday night at 445 feet, but the official figure is 489 feet. Given that, the 30-feet by which the Royals say Jackson’s shot surpasses Trout’s supports Jenkinson’s figure of 515 feet for Jackson, which is 26 feet more than the official Trout distance.