October 10, 2011
MILWAUKEE — Radar tracked it going 119.2 mph off his bat. The biggest home run of Prince Fielder's(notes) career, so far, was also the fastest homer anybody in the major leagues has hit during the 2011 season.
Not known for his speed, this surprised Fielder a little.
"Really?" Fielder said. "I mean, yeah, it felt good. But I thought it might be off the wall or a double in the gap."
No such luck Sunday night for the St. Louis Cardinals, who were overwhelmed by sudden changes caused by the Milwaukee Brewers. Fielder's home run highlighted Milwaukee's six-run fifth inning, which erased a three-run deficit and became the turning point in a 9-6 victory in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Fielder's blast was fast and low, a laser beam driven off the back wall of the Cardinals' bullpen in remote right-center field, hitting just above a sign advertising the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and just below an overhang of bleachers.
"That was one of the hardest hit balls I've ever seen," Braun said, emphasizing ever. "I'm always worried when I'm on first base and Prince is up that he's going to top-spin one at me. So I was fortunate that I was on second base and I got a good view of it. And that's about as hard as I've ever seen him hit a baseball."
And there it is. I think. I was hoping for a dent, a chip or the impression of seams, like with silly putty, but concrete doesn't yield that kind of evidence.
The sign and wall have been peppered with balls through the season, probably seasons, but the circled spot is consistent with where the video shows Fielder's home run hitting. It was about midway between the left side of the "M" in Milwaukee and where the railing begins.
It's also worth noting that the Brewers retrieved the ball (it was nice of the Cardinals bullpen to not "lose" it). Milwaukee's bullpen catcher, Marcus Hanel, placed it in Fielder's locker.
Man, that's a long way. This shot was taken from right below where the homer hit. Note the overhang — there's much more of it than appears on TV. It takes a certain kind of line drive to make it this far — the fastest kind.
Big BLS h/t: ESPN Stats and Info