Spring Training and Babe Ruth Making More Baseball History

 

Spring Training and Babe Ruth Making More Baseball History

Spring Training in Florida is now a century old and started with the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles) on February 27th, 1914. Some of the most special memories in spring training history involve non other than the Babe and include what is likely the longest home runs of his storied baseball career. The two biggest and well known home runs for the Babe during spring training occurred in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida.

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One of Babe Ruth’s Longest Home Runs Tampa

On April 4, 1919, the Bambino walloped a 587-foot blast during an exhibition game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants at Plant Field in downtown Tampa. It was said to have sailed 508 feet through the air and went another 79 feet before rolling dead. It has been said that it was this event that ultimately convinced St. Petersburg mayor Al Lang to lobby for the New York Yankees instead of the New York Giants years later and where they ultimately settled for many years starting in 1925. A marker at the site memorializes the event on what is now the beautiful campus of the University of Tampa, near the business school.

Up until a couple years ago, this home run had been recognized as Babe Ruth’s longest during his professional career. Based on new analysis of detailed historical accounts and evidence, however, it appears that a new location can boast being the site of this historic Babe Ruth milestone. On March 25th, 1934, in his last spring training season as a Yankee, Babe Ruth hit a home run at Waterfront Park in downtown St. Petersburg (now the site of Al Lang Field), that rivals all other home runs by the Babe. The ball sailed 610 feet in the air and bounced against the West Coast Inn, which is exactly 624 feet from where Waterfront Park’s home plate once stood. Had it not bounced against a building it would have gone even further! Visit BRC to learn more about this epic home run event and the details of the research behind its validation.

West Coast Inn Home Run

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