Birth of the Tape Measure Home Run

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Birth of the Tape Measure Home Run

Only five days after Mickey Mantle Jr. was born, the Yankees were in Washington to play the Senators. Only 4,206 fans were in the stands that historic day as Chuck Stobbs was on the mound for the Senators facing 21 year old Mickey Mantle.

In the top of the fifth inning, Mickey stepped to the plate with two outs and Yogi Berra on first base. The Yankees were winning by the score of 2-1. Stobbs delivered a chest-high fastball to Mickey who quickly sent the ball sailing out towards left center field. The ball flew over the stand and glanced off the National Bohemian Beer sign, which was 460 feet from home plate. Despite nicking the sign, the ball continued to travel yet another 105 feet.

Arthur (Red) Paterson, Yankee press attache, immediately ran out of the ballpark to recover the historic ball and to determine an exact measurement of 565 feet.

Later, in the ninth inning, Mickey surprised everyone by pushing a bunt that went all the way into center field for a single. In one game, Mickey went on record as hitting the longest home run and the longest bunt!

Mickey holding the historic ball after the game and pointing to the scrape that it sustained as it grazed off the metal sign on it's way out of the ballpark.

Mickey holding the historic ball after the game and pointing to the scrape that it sustained as it grazed off the metal sign on it’s way out of the ballpark.

Chuck Stobbs's 1953 Topps Baseball Card

Chuck Stobbs’s 1953 Topps Baseball Card

2016-12-12T11:30:47+00:00 April 17th, 1953|Radio, Storybook Moments|16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Billy Kirkland June 21, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I was 10 years old and a school crossing guard..April 17, 1953 was School Crossing Guard Day at Griffith Stadium. Senators played the Yankees and I saw Mantle hit one over the Left center field wall! There were skeptics who said it was “wind aided”…The Washington Post rana story that had my father saying there was no wind. He said a “colored man” standing over 6 feet raised his arms and the ball cleared the wall above his hands. Note in the picture under the “B” in Bohemiam there is a black man sitting!! Made the papers because my dad was Federal Judge James R Kirkland who had been attending games at Griffith Stadium since the early 1920’s, knew Clark Griffith and was well known as a DC resident since 1906. I see where Jane Leavy of the Washington Post said the wind was gusting to 41 mph between 3 and 4 pm. I’ll go with my dad’s view of the flag at center field – dead on the staff. It went a very long way; I do not recall it nicking the Mr Bo scoreboard/billboard, but picture shows Mickey with the retrieved ball and it is nicked.

  2. David Dix August 10, 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

    When I was about 10, the Yankees came to Kansas City to play the Athletics during the famous 1961 homerun race. Roger Maris hit a homerun and Mickey followed with what had to be the longest homerun ever hit at the old Memorial stadium. It cleared the right field fence and hit in the middle of a parking lot beyond the street bordering the right field fence. I still remember this day that Mantle hit the first pitch after Maris’ homerun. It was a blast I bet is still remembered by those attending the game that day.

  3. Mike October 18, 2015 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    What was the final score of the April 17, 1953 game? Mantle’s “tape measure home run game”

    • Danny Mantle October 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Yankees won 7-3.

  4. Ed Cullum February 15, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Best all-round ball player I ever saw. Bunt, Drag-bunt, power, average, speed, arm, One of the true switch-hitters to ever play. But for stepping on the sprinkler head. this is the best ball player of all-time, No question.

  5. Phillip Delio July 1, 2016 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Everyone should have a hero or two in life- mine were my father and “the mick”. To turn in the records of his accomplishments, is truly amassing. One of the GREATEST players ever!!

  6. Michael Sorrentino January 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    The Mick has more tape measure home runs then any one even today,
    no one talks about the ball hit in Yankee Stadium where it went on top of the roof where by they had a physicist measure where the ball went up over the fa├žade. The next day in the New York Daily News, showed the pictured front full page the Mick as home plate and an error trajectory of where it went, high and deep and up over the roof. This was a tape measure for sure, the physicist had not only measuring a distance of over 700 feet but the ball was still on a rise trajectory going up if it didn’t bounce off the roof.
    This is a true story and has been recorded in a magazine of tape measure home runs.
    Mickey Mantle has had more 500 foot home runs then anyone today, and has hit also a 660 foot home run.
    The only player I know that has hit a 600 foot home run was Reggie Jackson in Tiger Stadium in the playoff back in the 70’s. I agree Mickey Mantle if not for the knew injury would have hit at least another 75 home runs in his career, and truly in my book the top of the bat rack along with Willie Mays. What would these guys be in they lifted weights and had the modern training and nutrition they have today? What memories, thank you Mickey!

  7. Thomas Mahoney April 2, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    In the early 80’s Tony Kuebek was announcing a Yankee game & remarked that one year (didn’t mention the year) in the early 60s, he and some teammates kept track of th fly ball outs Mickey hit in old Yankee Stadium measuring over 430 ft. The number was in the 20s. I can’t find anyone else who remembers that. Does anyone know the exact quote

    • John sutera October 20, 2017 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Whitey Ford said that Mick hit 18 to 20 balls a year that would be homeruns in the stadium that was rebuilt in 1975. That means 18 extra home runs a year times 18 years and he possibly could have hit 324 more homeruns. Imagine 860 homeruns

  8. Dick Hammons April 13, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    I’ve cried twice since I have been grown. The tears occurred when I learned of the passing of my two heroes, my father and Mickey Mantle.

  9. dick hammons April 17, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    My favorite player ever. I just turned 65, and have cried twice in my life- when my Dad passed away, and when we lost The Mick.

  10. Murray j hanowski May 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    I became a mickeymantle fan in 2055
    I loved him collected magazines and lived the Yankees through their glory years
    He was the best really he was the “last boy”
    I still watch videos of him

  11. Richard Iazzetti August 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    The Mick was my first hero, favorite Yankee, greatest baseball player I ever saw and I met him in 1990 at Mantle Ford fantasy camp in Ft. Lauderdale. He told great stories about wrestling with Billy Martin on the long train rides much to Casey’s chagrin. The Day he died I was at The Stadium with my family. They had “7” on the scoreboard with the words “Forever A Yankee.” I cried like a baby. Thanks for all the memories, unforgettable moments!

  12. mortimer zilch August 19, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Once I was sitting in the left-center field bleachers at Yankee Stadium in the first row directly over the 457′ sign. Mantle batting right-handed had already hit a homer earlier into the left field bleachers but closer to the visitors’ bullpen – a real shot about 450 feet. This time Mantle again batting right-handed swung and the ball flies off his bat. I was watching the game with binoculars. I see the ball fly off the bat – but I don’t hear anything because it’s so far away from home plate. I jerk the binoculars away and look up into the sky and see a BLACK DOT.- and then I hear the crack of the bat.There was NO WAY a black dot should be there up in the sky. It’s impossible for a BLACK DOT to be up in the sky. It’s like a UFO experience. Then the BLACK DOT after seeming to hang there for a split second starts accelerating and flew over my head, going about 7 rows behind me. Too far behind me for me to have any chance of getting it as a souvenir. Definitely a 500 footer. But that’s the kind of shot Mantle had to hit just to get a Homer in Yankee Stadium. How many did he hit that were outs that would be home runs anywhere today? Same with Joe DiMaggio. I calculated playing 18 years of games for the Yankees that HALF the games were in Yankee Stadium. So that’s 9 years of games which is over 1000 games. Now maybe Mantle batted right handed in close to 1/4 of those games – that’s 250 games at least with, let’s say, 4 at bats each game…so Mantle has about 1000 AT BATS in Yankee Stadium batting right handed. How many fly ball outs does Mantle hit to center-leftcenter that go over 420 feet that would be home runs today?? Tony Kubek’s estimate of 20 seems a little bit low. I think 50 is closer to the way it was, if you count in any triples, doubles, inside the park homers that may have gone out that way too.

  13. Wayne kerns June 5, 2018 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I saw the home run that Mickey hit against Bill Fischer of the KCA.s in, I think 1963. It hit the very top of the facade in right field and then bounced back all the way to 2nd base. It ended the game. What now is called a “walk off”. It was on our local TV. I lived in Kansas city. I wish the station that carried the games then still had the tape. GREAT MEMORY!!!

  14. TONY C. June 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    AUGUST 11, 1964 , DAY GAME AGAINST THE WHITE SOX. MANTLE HITS A HOME RUN OFF RAY HERBERT OVER THE SCREEN IN DEAD CENTER SOME 525 FT. LONGEST SHOT EVER IN THE OLD STADIUM. WAS AT THE GAME WITH HOLY ROSARY DAY CAMP. BRONX, N.Y.

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