When it comes to home runs, I think most players and fans alike would agree it doesn’t matter how high or how far the ball goes, just so long as the ball leaves the yard. But every so often, it’s nice to sit back and admire a moon shot, right?
Aside from the Level of Excellence, the Rogers Centre (affectionately remembered as the Skydome for most) is home to another esteemed club; and that is those who have hit home runs into the fifth deck.
It’s a a very exclusive club, one that only 13 players belong to since the Skydome first opened in 1989. For this week’s Flashback Friday, we look back at the members of the “500 Level Club” at the Rogers Center.
First and foremost, a big thanks to Ken Kosowan who helped provide the data for all the players who have hit home runs into the fifth deck at the Rogers Centre. Here is a full list of all the sluggers below:
|Oct 7 ’89||Jose Canseco||Oakland||Toronto||Mike Flanagan||480 -LF|
|Jul 25 ’96||Mark McGwire||Oakland||Toronto||Huck Flener||488 -LF|
|Jul 27 ’96||Joe Carter||Toronto||Oakland||John Wasdin||483 -LF|
|Jul 19 ’98||Carlos Delgado||Toronto||New York||Andy Pettitte||467 -RF|
|Sep 25 ’98||Jose Canseco||Toronto||Boston||Bret Saberhagen||451 -LF|
|Apr 12 ’99||Jose Canseco||Tampa||Toronto||Graeme Lloyd||459 -LF|
|Apr 22 ’99||Shawn Green||Toronto||Anaheim||Tim Belcher||449 -RF|
|Jun 3 ’01||Manny Ramirez||Boston||Toronto||Chris Carpenter||491 -LF|
|Apr 17 ’02||Raul Mondesi||Toronto||Boston||Darren Oliver||456 -LF|
|Aug 29 ’02||Josh Phelps||Toronto||New York||Roger Clemens||455 -LF|
|Jul 7 ’04||Josh Phelps||Toronto||Seattle||Ruben Mateo||435 -LF|
|Jul 28 ’04||Gary Sheffield||New York||Toronto||Miguel Batista||440 -LF|
|Sep 16 ’04||Vernon Wells||Toronto||Baltimore||Rodrigo Lopez||445 -LF|
|Jun 27 ’09||Jayson Werth||Philadelphia||Toronto||Brad Mills||448 -LF|
|May 31 ’11||Shelly Duncan||Cleveland||Toronto||Jo-Jo Reyes||446-LF|
|Apr 20 ’13||Edwin Encarnacion||Toronto||Boston||Jon Lester||427-LF|
In total, eight Blue Jays have launched a baseball into the fifth deck: Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Jose Canseco, Shawn Green, Raul Mondesi, Josh Phelps, Vernon Wells, and most recently Edwin Encarnacion.
Jose Canseco alone has hit bombs into the fifth deck three times; once as a member of the Oakland A’s in 1989, once in 1998 as a member of the hometown Blue Jays, and then again the following season with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Now, to see the names in table is one thing, but to truly appreciate the grandiouseness of these towering home runs, you really do have to see the replay. Unfortunately, I could only find video of a few of them, but that makes them all the more impressive.
First off, it’s Jose Canseco’s 480 foot home run off Mike Flanagan in Game 4 of the 1989 ALCS. The fact that this home run came in the postseason definitely ups the ante for greatness.
And then we have which still stands as the longest home run ever hit at the Rogers Centre/Skydome. Traveling a whopping 491 feet total, here’s Manny Ramirez’ tape measure shot off a young Chris Carpenter.
Even the Blue Jays fans that day tipped their cap to Manny as they cheered his near 500 foot shot into the then tarped-off fifth deck of the Rogers Centre.
Of course I would be remissed if I didn’t include the most recent member of the 500 Level Club, Edwin Encarnacion. It seems odd that this home run “only” went 427 feet, but it still managed to reach the fifth deck, and is the first man to do so since 2011.
In the future, it might be cool if the Blue Jays did something similar like what the Orioles have done with home runs that have reached Eutaw Street, and commemorate them each with some sort of plaque in the stands.
Once again, thanks to Ken Kosowan for the assistance with the data. Image courtesy of the Ballpark Guide.