You know about the most famous home runs hit at Tropicana Field. Wade Boggs’ 3,000th hit. Dan Johnson. Evan Longoria. If you’re reading this, that’s all familiar territory. But how about some of the longest home runs hit inside St. Petersburg’s domed ballpark?
Here’s a look at the longest home runs hit at Tropicana Field since Statcast began tracking batted-ball projected distances in 2015. We’ll start with the Rays’ five longest blasts, then get to the visitors’ leaderboard.
THE RAYS’ TOP 5
1. Willy Adames
Distance: 462 feet
Date: Sept. 21, 2019
Opposing pitcher: Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor
The details: The Rays’ broadcast team couldn’t do anything but marvel at this majestic blast by Tampa Bay’s young shortstop. Adames ripped a 95.3 mph fastball out to center with an exit velocity of 108.3 mph, sending the ball bouncing off the “D-Ring” catwalk, then off the top of the batter’s eye. “Oh, my. What a blast!” broadcaster Dewayne Staats said. Added Brian Anderson: “My. Goodness.” Indeed.
2. Ji-Man Choi
Distance: 460 feet
Date: July 21, 2018
Opposing pitcher: Marlins right-hander Kyle Barraclough
The details: Another no-doubter blasted out to straightaway center field, Choi turned on a 94.3 mph fastball and crushed it at 109.4 mph. The ball caromed off the top of the Budweiser Porch. At the time, it was the Rays’ longest home run at the Trop tracked by Statcast and the club’s longest of any kind since 2016.
3. Avisaíl García
Distance: 459 feet
Date: July 20, 2019
Opposing pitcher: White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito
The details: Put it this way: This home run was so extraordinary that a baseball scientist wrote a lengthy explanation about how Statcast’s projected distances are checked. People were just that surprised it was only 459 feet. García clobbered a high, hanging changeup and swatted it at 111.2 mph into the Rays’ 2008 American League East championship banner.
4. Tommy Pham
Distance: 458 feet
Date: June 11, 2019
Opposing pitcher: A’s right-hander Mike Fiers
The details: Pham obliterated a hanging slider from Fiers, crushing it with an exit velocity of 107.9 mph out to left-center field. The ball cleared the first section of outfield seats, landing in the walkway. It was Pham’s ninth of the season and one of the 21 homers he smashed in 145 games during the 2019 season.
5. Avisaíl García
Distance: 456 feet
Date: Sept. 8, 2019
Opposing pitcher: Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio
The details: Yes, a second appearance for García, who owns the Rays’ longest Statcast-tracked homer regardless of the ballpark -- a 485-foot moonshot in Miami hit on May 14, 2019. This one, in September, was a two-run shot out to left-center, hit with an exit velocity of 110.9 mph off an 88.7 mph sinker that stayed over the middle of the plate. The ball flew over the RumFish Grill Deck and came in so hot it had fans ducking and covering.
VISITORS’ TOP 5
1. Alex Rodriguez
Distance: 471 feet
Date: April 17, 2015
Rays pitcher: Right-hander Nate Karns
The details: Years before he was calling nationally televised Sunday night games, showing up in Times Square on New Year’s Eve or attending presidential inaugurations, this qualified as quite a day for A-Rod. He had a two-homer game, his first multihomer showing since May 23, 2012, to pull within two home runs of tying Willie Mays. His first one, a solo shot, was the longest home run ever tracked by Statcast at Tropicana Field: a 471-foot blast.
2. Nelson Cruz
Distance: 469 feet
Date: Aug. 18, 2017
Rays pitcher: Right-hander Brad Boxberger
The details: “There’s one. Boxberger’s not even going to turn around,” Staats said on the Rays’ telecast. For good reason. “Boomstick” pulled a 92.3 mph fastball into the upper deck in left field, with an exit velocity of 116 mph. That absolute missile for the Mariners was the 30th home run of the season by the ageless Cruz.
3. Marcell Ozuna
Distance: 468 feet
Date: May 3, 2017
Rays pitcher: Left-hander Blake Snell
The details: The then-Marlins slugger was clearly waiting for something left up in the zone, and Snell left a 1-0 changeup too far up and over the middle of the plate. Ozuna punished the pitch, bashing it with an exit velocity of 112.2 mph off the Rays’ 2011 AL Wild Card banner hanging in left field. “That thing was long,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. Fact-check: True.
4. Gary Sánchez
Distance: 461 feet
Date: July 4, 2019
Rays pitcher: Right-hander Emilio Pagán
The details: Pagán’s cutter was relatively low in the strike zone, but it was over the plate and just high enough for the Yankees slugger to reach down and bash it out to left field and into the Trop’s upper-deck bleachers. Sánchez, who had 23 homers at that point of the season, crushed the three-run shot with an exit velocity of 113.7 mph to turn New York’s two-run lead into a five-run margin in the 10th inning.
5. Randal Grichuk
Distance: 451 feet
Date: Sept. 8, 2019
Rays pitcher: Right-hander Tyler Glasnow
The details: This one’s all about the projected distance, because it wound up bouncing back toward center fielder Kevin Kiermaier after it caromed off the batter’s eye. Glasnow flung a 97.2 mph fastball up in the zone, but Toronto’s Grichuk evidently had Glasnow’s high heat timed up well. He took the pitch straight out to center field with an exit velocity of 110.2 mph for a two-run homer in Glasnow’s return to the mound from a strained right forearm. And if you’re checking the date on this one and wondering, yes, this was the same game in which García hit his 456-foot blast.