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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Minimum distance for a home run: 380 feet.


1926  It is a ground-rule double instead of a home run if the ball is hit over the fence in fair territory if the fence is less than 250 feet from home plate. [6.09]
LA Coliseum 1959 World Series with screen in left.

Coliseum's dimensions affected the play on the field

By Rob Neyer ESPN.com  March 29, 2008

As originally configured in 1958, the Coliseum was only 250 feet to the left-field "screen" … which was 40 feet high. Deepest right-center field was 440 from the plate. Straightaway right field was a long ways away, too. It was barely 300 feet to the foul pole down the right-field line, but the fence extended out so quickly that it didn't do the hitters any good...

So yeah, it was different. Sort of an extreme version of Fenway Park, but inside an old-fashioned football stadium...

It's been reported that commissioner Ford Frick -- who would, a few years later, so energetically defend Babe Ruth's home run record -- "ordered the Dodgers to construct a second screen in left, in the seats, 333 feet from the plate, and a ball clearing both screens would be a home run, but a ball clearing just the shorter screen would be only a double."

Frick was overruled by the California Earthquake Law.

How about we bring back that 1926 rule but with a minimum distance for a home run of 380 feet?

I would add to that a line 380 feet from home plate behind a short fence.  If a fly ball lands beyond 380 feet it is a home run, benefit of the doubt going to the batter.  In some parks an upper deck shot may also qualify.  Hey, I didn't approve these silly buildings.

If people really want to make baseball more interesting and more fair, this is a fundamental way to do it, using an update of an old rule.  Using an old rule should limit opposition from traditionalists who don't want to do anything too radical.

This would help to mitigate the damage done during the tenure of commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig who sat there like a lump and allowed the proliferation of new non-uniform playing areas and then morphed into the steroid sheriff.

An alternative would be to put up screens where the fences are too close, but I'm guessing that people would not want to sit hundreds of feet away from home plate behind a screen.  The advantage of the screen is that the ball is still in play and the batter would have to earn his bases by running.  There would be more natural action.

Baseball is a game of hitting, fielding and base running.  Instead, it continues to devolve into a game in which 90% of what is considered action is two guys playing catch: the pitcher and catcher.  Strike outs continue to increase.  Strike outs are BORING!

Blast Selig into outer space and hire a replacement younger than 50 years of age with executive experience and some imagination and willingness to change the game.

Yes, change the game!

1 comment:

Kenneth Matinale said...


As previously mentioned in the 1950s–1960s section, during 1958–1961, the distance from home plate to the left field foul pole was 251 feet (76.5 m) with a 42-foot (13 m) screen running across the close part of left field. Due to the intervening addition of another section of seating rimming the field, the 2008 grounds crew had much less space to work with, and the result was a left field foul line only 201 ft long (61.3 m), with a 60-foot (18 m) screen, which one Boston writer dubbed the "Screen Monster".[29] Even at that distance, 201 feet is also 49 ft (14.9 m) short of the minimum legal home-run distance. This being an exhibition game, balls hit over the 60 ft (18 m) temporary screen were still counted as home runs. There were only a couple of homers over the screen, as pitchers adjusted (and Manny Ramirez did not play, although he ironically enough, would later be traded to the Dodgers that season).[30] A diagram ([31]) illustrated the differences in the dimensions between 1959 and 2008:

2008 – LF 201 ft (61.3 m) – LCF 280 ft (85.3 m) – CF 380 ft (115.8 m) – RCF 352 ft (107.3 m) – RF 300 ft (91.4 m)
1959 – LF 251 ft (76.5 m) – LCF 320 ft (97.5 m) – CF 417 ft (127.1 m) – RCF 375 ft (114.3 m) – RF 300 ft (91.4 m)
A sellout crowd of 115,300 was announced,[32] which set a Guinness World Record for attendance at a baseball game, breaking the record set at a 1956 Summer Olympics baseball demonstration game between teams from the USA and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.