50 years ago today: The Mick hit a walkoff homer and I learned “facade”

I remember to this day the definitions of many of the words I learned when studying for the SATs as I’ve envisioned myself as an exemplary to others.

I don’t want to sound pretentious, nor should I be treated as venerable (certainly not someone as querulous as myself should be accorded such an accolade), but I actually remember how I learned the word “facade” and it has nothing to do the SAT, but everything to do with Mickey Mantle.

On the night of May 22, 1963, Mickey Mantle hit an 11th-inning walkoff homer off Bill Fischer of the Kansas City Athletics to give the Yankees an 8-7 victory.

Batting from the left side of the plate, Mantle hit it off the facade high off the top of the ballpark. It was the closest a ball would ever come to going out of Yankee Stadium during an MLB game.

Here’s what the homer looked like (check out the A’s overshift on Mantle)

Royals Yankees Mantle Home Run

From ESPN’s Hittrackeronline.com, here’s some data:

  • The ball struck the facade at a point 102 feet above field level, at a point 363 feet horizontally from home plate.
  • The temperature was 70 degrees, wind was 13 mph from the SW, which at Yankee Stadium means it was blowing out to left field (and thus not helping Mantle’s home run much).
  • Various reports from witnesses state that the ball was still climbing when it struck the facade.
  • After testing numerous times of flight, a value of 3.41 seconds was chosen. This yields an apex of 108 feet, which means the ball had only slightly passed its peak. The ball left the bat at an angle of 27.2 degrees, with a calculated value for speed off the bat of 123.9 mph, an extrememly high value.
  • Hit Tracker estimates the true distance of the Mantle “facade” homer at 504 feet.

Mantle said it was the hardest ball he ever hit feeling the bat (borrowed from Dale Long) bend.

Here are some comments from the New York Times by Yankees and A’s about the blast

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I hope you found me sagacious and not superficial in my somewhat restrained reverence for this historic event.

Yankees by the numbers, May 22, 1963

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