On June 10, 1974, Schmidt hit one of the longest singles recorded in major league history. In a game against the Houston Astros, he crushed a Claude Osteen fastball off a speaker dangling from the ceiling of the Astrodome, 329 feet from the plate and 117 feet in the air.
Not that Schmidt, who hit 548 career long balls, needs one more homer
to validate his legacy, but come on – it should have at least been
called a ground rule double!
Schmidt slammed the pitch so high
and so far that everyone, including Houston center-fielder Cesar
Cedeno, assumed it was going the distance. Click here to listen to the
titanic was the blast that, after hitting the public address speaker,
it landed smack down in the middle of centerfield. Larry Bowa and Dave
Cash, who like most everyone in the Astrodome were admiring the high
sailing shot, advanced just a single base. Schmidt, midway through a
home-run trot, had to turn around and go back to first and was held to
a mere single.
"I knew it was a good hit," said Schmidt after
the game. "Running to first base, I realized it hit something up there.
I didn't know what, but something. It all happened so fast. I wasn't
really sure of the ground rule. What can pop into your mind at a time
like that?" Meanwhile, Cedeno was probably even more stunned at the
grandeur of the shot. "I knew the ball was going out, but I continued
running because I wanted to see how far it would go," the centerfielder
admitted. "I never saw a ball hit so far in my life." Schmidt
concurred: "I'd like to have seen it go all the way, just to see how
far it would've gone."(Experts conclude that the ball would've easily
gone over 500 feet.)
Luckily, the "homer that wasn't" wound up
having little effect on the overall result of that game in Houston. The
Phillies would go on to take the contest easily, a 12-0. Meanwhile,
after a disappointing rookie season, Schmidt's epic one-bagger helped
put him on the fast-track to superstardom, as it inspired a write-in
campaign that got him elected to his first ever All-Star game--a
contest which asked for his presence 11 more times before all was said