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CINCINNATI - The formal name of the Cincinnati Reds riverfront stadium is Great American Ball Park. However, to home run hitters across Major League Baseball, the friendly confines in the Queen City might as well be nicknamed the Great American Launching Pad.
In December, Bleacher Report voted Great American Ball Park the third best stadium for home run hitters in baseball, behind only U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and Coors Field in Denver.
Last season, Great American Ball Park was the third most homer-friendly stadium in the National League. An average of 2.46 home runs per game flew over the fence at GABP during the 2012 season.
The home runs don't just come in bunches, they also travel for miles. With some help from the Cincinnati Reds, here's a look at the nine longest home runs in GABP history:
1. Adam Dunn
2. Wily Mo Pena
5. Derek Lee
6. Ryan Howard
9. Adam Dunn
***A Juan Francisco home run hit in September of 2011 had an initially reported distance of 502 feet, was then downgraded to 482 feet, but the actual distance of the blast has been disputed.
It should come as no surprise to longtime Reds fans that the person at the top of the list is none other than Adam Dunn. The Ruthean power hitter, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Reds from 2001-2008 smashed a Jose Lima offering 535 feet in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 4, 2004. Dunn still has the distinction of being the only player to hit a 500-foot round-tripper at the stadium, one that literally left the ballpark.
Former Cincinnati outfielder and general enigma Wily Mo Pena came close to approaching the 500-foot-mark on April 17, 2005 when he crushed a pitched tossed by Astros hurler Brandon Duckworth 498 feet.
While some might think April is a little early to see such a shot given the notoriously warm Cincinnati temperatures don't hit until around June, history suggests otherwise. Seven of the nine longest home runs in the stadium's history have come before June, with five of them coming in April. All of those round-trippers came before May 10.
9 On Your Side meteorologist Sherry Hughes says this is because during spring in Cincinnati, the dew points are usually low, which means drier air. Temperatures are typically mild and not hot, so with dry air and relatively cool temperatures, there is less obtrusive air molecules to block a moving object like a baseball. Balls will travel farther during this time as opposed to during the summer months when the air is thick with moisture from higher humidity.
Another surprising factoid is that no one has hit a homer that's made the list since 2008. Six of the longest shots came during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
This fact shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to baseball fans. Home runs, particularly
in the NL, decreased dramatically between 2006 and 2011. Teams across the MLB averaged 178 homers during the 2006 season. That number fell to 165 in 2007 and again 165 in 2008. While the number spiked back up to 168 in 2009, teams in the National League saw their totals fall to 155.
Baseball reached its low in 2010 and 2011, averaging just 154 (150 NL) and 152 (143 NL) during those campaigns respectively.
Don't worry baseball fans: The number climbed back up to 164 last season, so balls should be flying out of GABP with great regularity in 2013.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard sent a pitch from Ken Mercker 479 feet on April 5, which is tied for No. 6 on the all-time list with Adam Dunn's blast against John Garbow of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dunn's home run came on April 6, 2006, almost exactly two years before Howard's shot.
Dunn is the only player on the list more than once: He's hit three of the longest shots. When you add his two other dingers with his 9th-ranked 474-foot bomb against Cardinals' pitcher Camren Cali on May 4, 2005, Dunn's home runs total 1,488 feet, or approximately three-tenths of a mile.
Most of the players on the list are household names to Reds fans. Players like Howard, Alfonso Soriano (No. 4 at 492 feet), Derek Lee (No. 5 at 482 feet) and Albert Pujols (No. 8 at 477 feet) have been haunting the dreams of Reds pitchers for years.
But not every player on the list is familiar to even the most knowledgeable of Cincinnati baseball fans. Does the name Reggie Abercrombie ring a bell? No?
If you were inside Great American Ball Park on April 19, 2006 when the Reds played the Marlins, it'd be difficult to forget Abercrombie after he blasted the third-longest home run in stadium history off pitcher Michael Gosling. The ball traveled 493 feet.
While it doesn't make the Top 9 list, current free-swinging outfielder Ryan Ludwick has the distinction of being the only player on the 2013 roster to rank among the top 10 on the list. The kicker? Ludwick hit his tenth-ranked 473-foot four-bagger while he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
I'm sure he hasn't let current teammate Homer Bailey, who surrendered the home run on July 1, 2007, forget it.
Ludwick also had the longest home run at GABP last season ( 469 feet ), according to ESPN.com.
Have you ever seen a home run that had you wondering it's distance? The Reds have developed a new distance calculator tool so you can find out the distance of any home run hit at Great American Ball Park.
You can access the calculator by visiting the following link: http://ow.ly/jBjJj
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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