Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a home run last Friday against Detroit that I thought would break Ted Williams’ distance record. Bradley Jr.’s homer off Alex Wilson in the 8th put the Sox ahead for good. But few seem to notice that the ball traveled over 457 feet. That’s 45 feet short of Ted Williams’ 502 foot record. A 457 foot home run is nothing to ignore. It’s Bradley Jr.’s longest homer of the season. While the distance of the homer doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, it reflects the sheer strength and speed of Bradley Jr.’s swing.
The ball may have traveled even farther than that. Last April in Baltimore, Bradley Jr. hit a homer off of the Orioles’ Jayson Aquino that, according to ESPN Home Run Tracker, measured 407 feet (against the wind). After the game I walked around the area in Camden Yards where the ball landed and another fan pointed to where it landed. Not two feet away was a mini-plaque marking the place where another home run landed in 2008. On July 1, 2008 the Royals’ Alex Gordon’s home run landed approximately in the same spot and measured at 425 feet. Most home runs barely make it over the wall, which is about 370 feet or so (give or take 20 feet). Each park is different. But Bradley Jr.’s home runs could clear the wall in any park.
Bradley Jr.’s 457 Foot Home Run Should Get More Recognition
Ted Williams hit that 502 foot homer in 1946 but that was before so many tall buildings went up around Fenway Park. These buildings cut down on the wind that often carries a ball out of the park. Some say that officials exaggerated Williams’ home run record. David Ortiz used to joke about the red seat marking the spot where it landed. “They moved it back a little more,” he’d allegedly say about the seat at the start of each new season. But it’s still an official record on the books.
Bradley Jr. hasn’t hit the longest home run of the season (yet). That honor goes to the Yankess’ Aaron Judge after he hit a 496 blast on June 11th at Yankee Stadium. But the thing is that Bradley Jr. is consistently hitting long homers. Bradley Jr.’s home run on June 9th marked the fifth time since April 22nd that one of his long balls traveled over 400 feet.
It won’t surprise me if Bradley Jr. comes within a few feet of Williams before the season is over. So while we should celebrate his homers, we should also pay attention where they’re landing.