I won’t claim to be an authority on Arkansas baseball’s longest home runs. I don’t see every game. I see most.
I know Andy Wilkins also hit a ball over Baum Stadium scoreboard, as did Heston Kjerstad yesterday.
Norm DeBriyn thinks it was done one other time by an LSU batter.
As far as the other longest homers, he thought there had been a couple over the batter’s eye in center by visiting hitters.
“Eric Hinkse hit one that was between the scoreboard and batter’s eye – higher than both – that was the longest I think that was hit here that I have seen,” said DeBriyn, who was not in the park for Kjerstad’s blast.
As far as homers at the old George Cole Field before the move to Baum, DeBriyn recalled a Kevin McReynolds homer against TCU.
“I had been thrown out of the game so I was watching from in front of the HPER building behind left field,” DeBriyn said. “Kevin hit one that one hopped off the building. There was a guy there who had been at a lot of Arizona State games when Reggie Jackson played there. He said Reggie hit some long ones but Kevin’s was every bit as long.”
Chad Spanberger hit one last year at Baum that was to the right of the scoreboard and landed beyond the pond dubbed Lake Norm.
I always check the flag when I park my truck. Media parks south of the track building. So you are looking at the side of the visitor’s bullpen right off the bat. So the flag is about the first thing I see.
It was blowing out from the north and northeast last two games. Seems to have been that way a lot so far this season. It will be from the NNE if they play Friday night (doubtful). It will be from the ESE on Saturday and from the South on Sunday.
Pitchers like that ESE wind at Baum. That is truly blowing in. SW seems to be most common wind and that is from right foul pole to left foul pole.
The foul ball by Heston was long but not nearly as long as many others have hit foul. I recall one Benintendi hit foul that bounced across the road. Probably hit on concrete. I guess that would be like the driving contest on Tin Cup. Street aided.
Thing about Heston’s foul ball moon shot, not many can claim to have seen it. I bet there were only 600 in park. Attendance was listed as 1,600 but most did not stay long in that bitter cold wind Tuesday night.
That was the second time I’ve seen an Arkansas player hit a home run over the scoreboard during a game. The other was Andy Wilkins during the 2010 regional against Grambling. I seem to remember an opposing player doing it about three or four years ago; want to say from LSU or Ole Miss, but not sure.
I saw Chad Spanberger hit one over the scoreboard during a fall scrimmage before his junior season. I seem to remember a player - Danny Hamblin, maybe - hit one over the batter’s eye during a high wind day against Tennessee several years ago.
Then there have been a couple at the SEC Tournament that were memorable. Zack Cox knocked out the lights in one of the letters on top of the Hoover Met scoreboard in 2009. Andrew Benintendi also had a big shot there in 2015. It was a big moment in one of the games and Dave Van Horn told him when he went to the plate, “You’re going to get a first-pitch fastball and I want you to hit it as far as you can.”
The bat makes Kjerstad’s homer different from a lot of those others. A lot of those home runs were hit during the gorilla ball days. These bats play more like wood bats, so you have to square one up pretty good to hit it like Kjerstad did yesterday.
Cox’s blast in Hoover is the one I remember. IIRC, all of the players on both teams just kind of stood there and followed the ball in flight. It kind of reminded me of Reggie Jackson’s moon shot in the All Star game played in old Detroit Stadium in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Probably because it caromed off of a light standard above the second deck in Tiger Stadium. I don’t know if they’ve ever accurately estimated how far that might have flown unimpeded.
I thought it was LSU SS Brandon Larson who hit some of the biggest bombs in Baum. I thought he hit one over the batter’s eye and another over a big inflatable beyond LF. It would have been about 1997 I think.