The Babe's Record Home Run - Another Tampa Legend
As reported in an article in Cigar Aficonado by Kenneth Shouler entitled "The King of Swings, Babe Ruth Revolutionized Baseball While Indulging a Passion for Wine, Women and Cigars," when the Babe "... was with the Red Sox he hit one in spring training in an exhibition game at the Tampa fairgrounds. He hit it out of the racetrack, into a farmer's field, and it stopped in a furrow. Several New York writers got a surveyor's glass and said it had traveled 630 feet. While that distance taxes credulity, writer Bill McGeehan said he didn't know how far it traveled, but when it came down it was covered in ice."
This location is now on the grounds of the University of Tampa. A plaque marking the location reads:
Babe's Longest Homer
At Tampa's Plant Field on April 4, 1919, "Babe" Ruth, playing for the Boston Red Sox against the N.Y. Giants, smacked a 587 foot home run that set a record pre-season game. 4,3000 screaming fans saw the feat. Famed Evangelist Bill Sunday, an ex-major leaguer himself, who was conducting a tent revival on the Florida Fair Grounds nearby, had pitched the first ball of the game and The Bambino's pace-setting ball was presented to him.
Ruth played from 1915 to 1935. He is regarded as the most popular player of all time, and the greatest slugger in history One year he hit 60 homers. Erected 1981 by the Tampa Historical Society in cooperation with the Halian-American Golf Association Inc.
Like many, I am a bit skeptical of many of the modern day records - the Babe's drugs of choice seemed to be cigars and beer, not marijuana and steroids. So when the merits of homerun records are discussed, I stick with the Babe - and Hank Aaron, of course. But not the muscle-bound modern pretenders.