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Counting Cards: Longest Home Runs of 2016

Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned round-tripper. Let’s appreciate the biggest taters the Cardinals mashed this season.

The St. Louis Cardinals loved the long ball in 2016. They hit 225 home runs, the most in the National League and the second-most across baseball. As the old adage goes, “Cards fans dig the long ball,” or something like that. So for Cardinals fans, 2016 was filled with an endless flow of aesthetically-pleasing moonshots.

Before we count down the Redbirds’ 10 longest home runs of the season, a pair of fun facts:

  1. Cardinals pitching only allowed one home run longer than the longest hit by a Cardinal, this 470-foot blast by the Houston Astros’ Jason Castro on August 16. Notably, it was a left-on-left shot off of Jaime Garcia.
  2. Somehow, every team except the Atlanta Braves hit at least one home run as long as the Cardinals’ longest. The Braves hit the fewest home runs in baseball. I guess the Cardinals were a group of small ball sluggers.

Without further ado, here are the good guys’ 10 longest dingers of 2016, presented in reverse order. All data is from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker; note that there is some disparity from MLB.com’s Statcast data. Either way, these blasts brought out the tape measure.

10. 438 feet: Brandon Moss, May 5

Brandon Moss’s 28 home runs helped pace the Cardinals’ power production, so why not start with him? This solo shot in the first inning set the tone for an eventual 4-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies. It might’ve even been a two-run blast if Matt Carpenter hadn’t gotten thrown out at third a play earlier. So it goes.

9. 439 feet: Randal Grichuk, May 2

The next one, coincidentally, came just earlier in the same series. There were plenty of big home runs on this night: a three-run shot by Adam Wainwright, back-to-back blasts by Matt Adams and Aledmys Diaz, and a two-run pop by Kolten Wong. But Randal Grichuk’s, admittedly the least impactful of them all, takes the cake when it comes to distance. Grichuk joined the party with a solo shot out to left-center to help the Cardinals wrap up a 10-3 win.

T-6. 441 feet: Matt Holliday, April 15

The first of three home runs that each traveled 441 feet, Matt Holliday’s blast was the earliest this season that ended up on this list. Holliday actually launched a three-run shot earlier that evening, capitalizing on pitcher Tim Melville’s first inning woes. This one was icing on the cake, a no-doubter that nearly reached the top of the grass in center. Holliday’s multi-homer game was part of a six-home run effort by the Cardinals, who celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with a resounding 14-3 victory.

T-6. 441 feet: Aledmys Diaz, April 27

This home run by Diaz doesn’t look quite like the others. When you think of the typical long home run, you probably think of a high, arcing shot that gives the batter (and everyone else) plenty of time to admire it’s grandeur. This isn’t like most long home runs. It’s an Aledmys special, a lined shot down the left field line that’s hit so hard it gets out in a hurry and still travels a mile.

T-6. 441 feet: Jeremy Hazelbaker, May 14

This one is probably the most fitting of all the home runs on this list. Jeremy Hazelbaker, in the midst of his early-season emergence, came off the bench for a pinch-hit (had to have one of those on here) appearance with two outs in the ninth. Scott Kazmir had dominated all night, but one out from a complete game, Hazelbaker knocked him out to give the Cardinals life. Unfortunately, Kenley Jansen entered to strike out Diaz and that was that. This home run had the lowest win probability added of any on the list (.006).

5. 444 feet: Stephen Piscotty, April 26

Chase Field usually makes a good sidekick for a monumental blast. Stephen Piscotty’s only appearance in the top 10, he made good use of it, unleashing for a garbage time shot to straightaway center to make it a 7-0 game.

4. 449 feet: Jedd Gyorko, September 29

Jedd Gyorko led the Cardinals with an even 30 home runs, so it was only a matter of time until he showed up on this list. This one was right in his wheelhouse, and Gyorko wasted no time in putting it in the left field bleachers. In a pennant race and coming off a tough loss the night before, the Cardinals needed offense, and Gyorko delivered to jumpstart a season-ending four-game winning streak. By the way, this was the infamous Yadier Molina non-ground rule double game.

3. 450 feet: Jedd Gyorko, September 20

The Cardinals tied for the major league lead with a trio of 3-0 home runs, including this shot by Gyorko. This one was a Coors Field special, as Gyorko took a fastball right over the heart of the plate and deposited it to dead center field. The homer gave the Cardinals a 5-1 lead in a game that would turn into a slugfest, 10-5, so Gyorko’s contribution turned out to be mighty important.

2. 452 feet: Brandon Moss, June 30

The longest home run hit at Busch Stadium this season, the fans knew it right away. Chris Young served up a meatball, Moss didn’t miss it, and that ball went a long way, deep into the bleachers in right. Sometimes, the crack of the bat tells you all you need to know. Unfortunately, the Cardinals wouldn’t get much else offensively in this one, falling to the defending champs, 4-2.

1. 456 feet: Matt Holliday, May 30

And here it is: the absolute longest shot hit by a Cardinal this season, a solo blast by Holliday in Milwaukee. The mammoth shot extended the lead to 6-0, which would eventually be the final score. Again, note the difference between ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, which has this home run at 456 feet, and MLB.com’s Statcast, which has it at 466. If you want to call it 466, I wouldn’t blame you.

Image Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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