On May 22, 1963 — At Yankee Stadium, New York blows a 7 – 0 lead and allows Kansas City to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Mickey Mantle, leading off the 11th, is fooled by Bill Fischer on a slow curve, then cannons a 2 – 2 pitch that almost clears the RF roof. “The hardest ball I ever hit,” Mantle later comments, a ball that, by some accounts, is still rising when it strikes a foot below the top. It is conservatively estimated by Dr. James McDonald, a physicist who studies long-ball trajectories, that the ball would have traveled 620 feet if it had not struck the façade. “That was the only homer I ever hit that the bat actually bent in my hands,” Mantle tells Dale Long, from whom he borrowed the bat.

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