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Friday, August 31, 2007

Which Cardinal Has the Longest Dinger?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:40 PM

Chris Duncan hit a home run in the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Astros that elicited an entire dictionary's worth of hyperbolic verbs. The ball was ripped, tattooed, crushed and, dare I say, dry humped.

photo: AP

click to enlarge 1283769.0.jpg

The prodigious blast, which you can see here, came off former Cardinal Woody Williams and easily reached the upper deck of Houston's Minute Maid Park. But how does Duncan's shot measure up against other Cards homers this season?

Hit Tracker Online lists detailed data for each and every big-league home run. Using some fancy math, which is explained here, and factoring in conditions like wind, ambient temperature and altitude, the site calculates, among other things, how far a home-run ball was hit, and how fast it was going when it left the bat.

According to Hit Tracker, Duncan’s homer on Tuesday left the bat traveling 113 mph and flew 432 feet. Or it would have flown that far had the upper deck not blocked its descent back to earth.

Surprisingly, of Duncan's 21 home runs in 2007, good for second-best on the team, this was not the biggest and baddest. In May he hit one 435 feet off of Detroit's Justin Verlander, and on July 21 he powered an impressive 438-foot shot against Atlanta's Buddy Carlyle. Nor was Tuesday's homer his hardest-hit ball of the season -- that honor goes to his first, a 426-foot screamer that left the bat at 117 mph (also in Houston).

Duncan, whose homers average 403.3 feet, just barely misses out on leading the team. Albert Pujols' team-leading 31 homers have averaged 403.8 feet. Pujols also boasts the team's longest dinger (sorry Dunc), a 462-foot blast off the Cubs' Ryan Dempster in April, as well as the hardest-hit homer, a ball that left bat traveling a hair under 119 mph in June.

Other lengthy swats include a 454-footer by Jim Edmonds and a 447-footer by Adam Wainwright.

To put the numbers in perspective, Hit Tracker lists the longest home run in baseball this season at 482 feet, mashed by Arizona's Tony Clark.

The site also offers info on some historic Cards homers, most impressive of which is Mark McGwire's bomb at Cleveland's Jacobs Field in 1997, which is estimated to have traveled 512 feet, clearing a 19-foot fence and 23 rows of bleachers before denting the park's Budweiser sign. Also included are Mac's 1998 homer that hit the Post-Dispatch sign in old Busch Stadium (470 feet, 120 mph off the bat), and Pujols' walk-off homer against Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS (455 feet, 119 mph.)

-Keegan Hamilton

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