JBJ wallops record-setting 478-foot home run

Third-deck dinger longest by Sox player since Statcast debuted

August 28th, 2019

DENVER -- It didn't matter if it was thin air or thick air. Forget about whether it was high altitude or low altitude.

hit an absolute moonshot on Tuesday night at Coors Field.

And the data proved that Bradley's blast to the third deck in right-center field, which came in the second inning of a 10-6 victory for the Red Sox over the Rockies, was as impressive as it looked.

In fact, at a projected distance of 478 feet, it was the longest home run by a Red Sox player since Statcast started tracking them in 2015. The previous longest was Hanley Ramirez, who had a 469-foot shot at Fenway Park against the Cubs on April 29, 2017.

"That ball Jackie hit, I don't think I've ever seen a ball go that far. That was incredible," said winning pitcher . "That was a shot. That's one of the bigger home runs I've ever seen."

It was the seventh longest homer in the Major Leagues this season, and third longest at Coors Field.

"I knew it was going to be a homer, but I didn't even look to see where it went," Bradley said. "But it felt good off the bat. I took a good swing and good things happen."

The mammoth shot made Red Sox manager Alex Cora reflect back to one he saw in Denver during his playing days.

"I think it was '02, Larry Walker against Jesse Orosco. He hit one to the section where they have all the bars and all that. They used to have a [purple] line," said Cora. "It was kind of like five rows short of the blue line. That was pretty impressive."

The shot Cora spoke of happened in a Rockies-Dodgers game on June 4, 2002. That was long before the advent of Statcast, and the Rockies announced that homer at the time as 481 feet.

Back to the current situation, Bradley obliterated his homer. His 17th tater of the season left his bat with an exit velocity of 112.1 mph and had a launch angle of 30 degrees.

"I mean, first of all, good job by him attacking early in the count," said Cora. "He got a pitch to hit that he could handle and put a good swing on it. Obviously, here, the ball carries, but that was going to be a no-doubter anywhere. It was pretty impressive."

It came against Rockies righty Rico Garcia, who was making his Major League debut. It was a first-pitch, 90.7-mph fastball in the dead-center of the plate. Garcia endured a tough lesson as to what happens when you misfire at the highest level of baseball.

"Whether it's 500 feet or barely a wall-scraper, I've got to focus on the next batter, pitch by pitch," said Garcia. "Just being able to bounce back was something I was focused on, not really thinking about it."

While Garcia focused on bouncing back, Boston's dugout erupted with a mixture of awe and joy.

"I think the best part is seeing my teammates' reactions," Bradley said. "It's fun seeing their expressions and how they reacted. I think that shows how they support me and it was fun."

Bradley hit the ball so well that he hardly felt it touch his bat. It was a perfect connection.

"I knew I hit it well, but like everything else, you've got to have that trajectory to go along with it," Bradley said. "You can hit it well, but if you hit a line drive, it's not going to look as good. That one lined up to be pretty good all around."

Dating back to Aug. 12, it was Bradley's fifth homer in 32 at-bats. As has become the norm for Bradley, his season has been a slope of peaks and valleys.

If Bradley (.222/.316/.413) can finish strong, it could be vital for a Boston team that is six behind the Athletics and five behind Tampa Bay for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"With him, we all know it starts with one swing," said Cora. "He hits a homer the other way and he starts getting locked in, but there's a few things he needs to do better. He knows it. Cut down on the strike zone, keep controlling the strike zone, because that's the most important thing. When he makes contact, it's loud and gives himself a chance."

How is Bradley currently feeling about his swing?

"It's irrelevant. Just got to find holes that's all that matters. Just hit it where they're not," said Bradley.

They're definitely not in the third deck of the seats at any ballpark.

But Bradley knows the Red Sox need consistency from him more than tape-measure shots. When he won the AL Championship Series MVP last October, he demonstrated just how potent a hitter he can be.

"Just trying to put good swings on it and not miss pitches," Bradley said. "I've always known I'm strong enough to do it. Just have to make more contact. That's it. Easier said than done."

But for one special swing on Tuesday, Bradley made it look too easy.