Fans looking for Garrett Jones
' home run yesterday had to check the river behind them. (Getty Images)
The Allegheny River is 443 feet from home plate down the rightfield line at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Now in its 13th season, only one man had ever hit a home run into that body of water on the fly. Until Sunday, that is. The Pirates' Garret Jones became the first player in team history, and just the second man ever, to hit one into the drink with this two-run moonshot down the line off the Reds' Jonathan Broxton.
The only other player to reach the water was the Astros' Darryl Ward on July 6, 2002, the ballpark's second season. Jones's shot was officially measured at 440 feet because the river is 20 feet below field level and home run distances are measured to field level. Impressive as that home run was, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, there have been four longer homers hit at PNC Park this year, one by the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo (445 feet), one by Pirates leftfielder Starling Marte (446 feet) and two over 450 feet by enigmatic Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Here's the longer of the two by Alvarez, a game-tying 456-foot shot to straight-away rightfield off Hector Ambriz of the Astros on May 17 that bounced into the river:
That one tied the distance of the longest home run hit at PNC Park last year, also 456 feet by Alvarez. Those two stand as the longest home runs hit at the ballpark in the last four seasons. The longest PNC Park home run in Home Run Tracker's data, which goes back to 2006, is a 462-foot bomb by the Tigers
' Carlos Guillen off Ian Snell on July 2, 2006. Ward's splash-homer was estimated at 479 feet at the time, but Home Run Tracker corrects that
to just 447 feet using the field-level distance.