CINCINNATI – On Aug. 10, 2004, vs. the Dodgers in the fourth inning, Reds left fielder and slugger
“That’s long time outta here. Adam Dunn put the hammer on one from Lima over the batter’s eye, out of the ballpark,” said Reds play-by-play voice George Grande, who was on the call.
The estimated distance was 535 feet, a record that still stands at GABP since it opened in 2003. The exact distance will be a continuous debate since MLB didn’t introduce Statcast to measure home run distances until 2015.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Dunn’s homer to center field landed on Mehring Way and bounced approximately another 200 feet to the banks of the Ohio River before resting on a piece of driftwood. Technically, the state line begins at the riverbank. That means Dunn hit one to another state — Kentucky — and no one else can claim that.
“I was sitting on a changeup, because [Lima] only threw like 88,” Dunn told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2015. “I know if he throws that changeup, he’ll make me look like an ass, because he had such a good one, if you don’t sell out to it. Just so happened it was a heater and I don’t know what happened.”
According to the Dayton Daily News account of the game, an electrician picked up the ball and returned it to Dunn.
“He’s so strong,” first baseman Sean Casey told ESPN’s Jayson Stark in ’04. “Maybe he can help push boulders around and build a dam or something. If a flood is coming, they can use him to stop up the river. He could probably grab those 5,000-pound boulders and pick them up with one arm.”
Dunn hit 126 of his 462 career home runs at GABP. He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2018.
The second-longest home run hit at GABP also left the premises. On Sept. 12, 2011, vs. the Cubs, lefty-hitting Juan Francisco sent a booming drive to right field that cleared the moon deck and landed in a tree across Mehring Way. The estimated distance has been disputed, but the Reds’ official scorer credited Francisco with a 502-foot homer. Again, Statcast wasn’t around yet.
A Rozzi’s fireworks employee stationed outside to shoot off the celebratory home run noisemakers reportedly found the ball and gave it to Francisco.
The homers by both Dunn and Francisco came during losses for Cincinnati.
Other balls have left GABP over the years — but none completely over the batter’s eye. It’s very unlikely it can be done again.
Since Dunn’s dynamic drive, the Reds installed the Pilot House riverboat deck on top of the batter’s eye in 2007. Many a drive has clanked off the boat, but none have cleared it. The spot where Francisco’s ball cleared the seats is now occupied by a right-field video board that was installed ahead of the All-Star Game in 2015.
Anyone who can drill the center of the right-field scoreboard would have as 434-foot homer, according to the Reds’ media guide. A drive to the Cincinnati Bell sign on the riverboat deck would have traveled 435 feet.
In case you’re wondering, the distance to the front tire of the Toyota Tundra truck that’s stationed high above left-center field is 500 feet. No one has hit the truck during a game, nor is believed to have hit the vehicle during batting practice.