Behold the slowest HR ever tracked. It's a sight to see

June 22nd, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG -- As the story goes, the Rays lowered the left-field-corner wall of Tropicana Field so that athletic outfielder Carl Crawford could pull off more highlight-reel home run robberies. The most famous home run in franchise history, Evan Longoria’s walk-off blast in Game 162, sailed over that short part of the wall on the final day of the 2011 regular season.

On Tuesday night, a different sort of history was made in that corner of The Trop in the Rays' 5-4 win over the Yankees.

After Isaac Paredes hit a homer high and deep to left field off Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes, Rays designated hitter Harold Ramírez lofted a solo shot of his own a Statcast-projected 323 feet down the left-field line. Ramírez cracked his bat on the swing, and the ball barely cleared the wall -- for good reason. With an exit velocity of 85.4 mph, Ramírez’s homer had the lowest exit velocity of any over-the-wall dinger tracked by Statcast.

“Just hoping it was going to stay fair. I felt like off the bat, he got enough of it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You might as well hit it right down the line to get it.”

According to Statcast, Ramírez’s fly ball would have been a home run in only one of 30 parks: Tropicana Field. You can call that good luck. He called it good aim.

“The wall is low,” Ramírez said, “so that helped me a lot.”

The ball came with an expected batting average of .030, lower than all but nine of the 45 batted balls tracked by Statcast in Tuesday’s game. In fact, most balls hit with the same combination of exit velocity and launch angle (33 degrees) would land just shy of the warning track, according to Statcast. Off the bat, Ramírez thought it was “100 percent” a harmless flyout to left field.

But it still cleared and it still counted, giving the Rays their second pair of back-to-back homers this season. Their first set of consecutive homers on June 10 at Target Field came with a quirk, too: The first was an inside-the-park homer by Randy Arozarena, followed by a Vidal Bruján blast to left.

It was the shortest homer of Ramírez’s career, 14 feet shy of a 337-foot blast he hit on May 24. It was the shortest long ball by a Ray since 2015, passing Brad Miller’s 329-footer on May 9, 2017. And it was the second-shortest homer in the Majors this season, trailing a 321-foot homer Adam Frazier hit in Boston on May 22.

They all count just the same, though, short wall or not.

“As soon as I break that bat, I just [think it's a] fly ball to left field,” Ramírez said. “So I just got excited it was a home run.”