Bill Jenkinson even wrote an article in 1996 for The Home Run Encyclopedia about the mythical home runs, such as Mickey Mantle’s 1953 homer that was rumored to travel 565 feet.
“It rolled,” Jenksinon added.
When the baseball historian first stumbled upon a newspaper clipping of Ruth’s 650-foot Wilkes-Barre dinger, he assumed he’d debunk it.
After years of intense research, he couldn’t.
He studied newspaper accounts, interviewed eyewitnesses and came to a conclusion: On Oct. 12, 1926, Babe Ruth hit a ball harder than anybody before him and, so far, anybody after him. Jenkinson conservatively says Ruth smacked the horsehide farther than 600 feet, but he’s not comfortable saying 650.
“If I went national and said any mortal human being hit a ball 650 feet, I frankly would lose all my credibility,” Jenkinson said with a smile. “Mr. Gibbons took us to a spot that was 650, but I’d rather err on the side of caution - 600 feet is still longer than anyone else. It’s not even close.”
Cooperstown does not track records, but Hall of Fame Library Associate Bill Francis said Jenkinson is well-regarded. And, according to Jenkinson, neither Barry Bonds nor Jose Canseco ever hit a ball farther than 500 feet.
Eighty-six years ago, the Babe hit a 600-foot homer in Wilkes-Barre. One day ago, Wilkes-Barre finally honored it with a kiosk.
Posted: April 29, 2012 at 07:02 AM | 9 comment(s)
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