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Collins in awe of Stanton's power

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The monster home run that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit against Jack Leathersich in the seventh inning on Monday may have traveled more than 500 feet, striking the upper portion of a three-tier chain-link fence that serves as the hitters' backdrop on an adjacent field.

Earlier in the at-bat, he hit a foul ball that may have traveled even farther.

According to manager Terry Collins, Stanton has more power than any player he's seen. He excluded Dave Kingman, Mickey Mantle and Frank Howard from his assessment, having never watched them play in person.

Stanton's home run brought to mind a final-pitch home run that former Met Butch Huskey hit in Spring Training in 1993. His was a rocket over the head of Braves outfielder Melvin Nieves that barely made it over the left-field wall, but the ball hardly had stopped traveling. It struck a tree that was 75 1/2 feet from the back of the wall at a height of 8 1/2 feet. The fence was eight feet tall.

So the ball -- somehow -- was still rising when the tree got in its way.

Braves players still were talking about it and seeking information about Huskey the following morning. The next time the Braves played in Port St. Lucie, Nieves went to the tree to see the damaged bark. Two years later the tree died of, in the words of Todd Hundley, "unnatural causes."

Marty Noble is a reporter for
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