Giancarlo Stanton plate appearances became must-see events the day he first put on a Miami Marlins uniform. Nothing about that has changed four years later, but perhaps Stanton just wanted to make sure we were all still paying attention Friday night when he unloaded on a helpless first-inning pitch from San Diego Padres left-hander Eric Stults.
When the pitch finally landed, the Marlins had a quick 2-0 lead in a game they would ultimately win 8-2. Its final resting place was the Budweiser Balcony way beyond the left center field wall at Marlins Park, which based on any estimation is a real long way from home plate.
For perspective, Stanton's blast would have sat all alone as the second-longest home run for the entire 2013 season. Only Evan Gattis' 486-foot shot at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia would have topped it. That makes it a very realistic possibility that we've already seen the longest home run for 2014.
As for where in ranks in MLB history? Well, that's tough. Most baseball historians seem to agree that Mickey Mantle owns the longest home run ever hit, but there's some debate as to when and where it occurred. Some argue that he once hit a baseball 734 feet at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 1963. Others say Mantle's blast off Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C in 1953 was measured at 565 feet, making it the official longest home run.
Of course, there may have been several others that could challenge that mark not only hit by Mantle, but many of the other great sluggers of that time. And it's just as possible the distances were exaggerated due to lack of technology or just to fuel the legacy of the players. With improved technology, we're able to get a more realistic estimate on home runs these days, though it's still not an exact science. So just use your imagination when watching Stanton's home run and try to picture a baseball going 80 feet further and then 250 further.
As noted, Stanton's is also the longest home run in the short history of Marlins Park. That record stands a much greater chance of falling eventually, if only because Stanton figures to call the park home for a few more years. Even if they do trade him in short order, as the Marlins have done with so many of their other all-stars over the years, he will return at some point. And he will still be swinging angry.
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