clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michael Conforto’s opposite field home run over the Great Wall of Flushing was a rarity

Opposite field fly balls hit by lefties don’t go over the Great Wall of Flushing very often.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

“The Great Wall of Flushing” is a term popularized by the great Howie Rose to describe the original Citi Field wall in left field. When Citi Field first opened in 2009, the outfield dimensions were notoriously gigantic, which eventually provoked the Mets into moving in the walls on two separate occasions in an attempt to make the park play more neutral.

The wall in left field was particularly large and stood out because of its 16-foot height, which is double the current 8-foot height.

The Great Wall of Flushing is no longer in play, but it still exists structurally as part of the stadium, located about six-to-twelve feet behind the current wall.

Michael Conforto, a left handed batter, hit an opposite field home run over the Great Wall of Flushing Friday night, which is not something that happens very often.

Using data and video from MLB advanced media, Statcast, and Hit Tracker, only seven home runs have been hit opposite-field over the original fence by a Mets’ left-handed batter since Citi Field opened in 2009. Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Ike Davis have done it. It wasn’t accomplished by a Mets left-handed batter until 2013, four years after Citi Field opened. With Citi Field just finishing up its eighth season, it averages out to less than once per season.

Player Date Exit velocity Estimated distance Opposing pitcher
Daniel Murphy 4-05-2013 105.5 mph 407 feet Chad Qualls
Ike Davis 4-19-2013 104.3 mph 427 feet Stephen Strasburg
Curtis Granderson 6-27-2015 101.9 mph 394 feet Michael Lorenzen
Lucas Duda 7-11-2015 108.4 mph 406 feet Patrick Corbin
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 7-12-2015 106.8 mph 421 feet Rubby de la Rosa
Asdrubal Cabrera 8-27-2016 102.4 mph 399 feet Jeremy Hellickson
Michael Conforto 9-23-2016 102.7 mph 391 feet Frank Herrmann

In total, only 22 home runs have been hit opposite field by a left-handed batter over the Great Wall of Flushing, 15 by opponents and 7 by Mets players. On average, it happens only about once every two months of baseball play, and three times per season.

No Mets left-handed batter accomplished the feat under the original Citi Field dimensions. Every home run hit to left field by a left handed batter was by an opposing player, except for an inside the park home run hit by Angel Pagan in August 2009.

Opposing lefties to hit a home run over the Great Wall of Flushing include Nick Swisher, (2009), Jorge Posada (2009), Joey Votto (2009, 2011, 2013), Ryan Howard (2009, 2010, 2016, 2016), Garrett Jones (2012), Pedro Alvarez (2012), Bryce Harper (2014), Freddie Freeman (2015, 2016), and Corey Seager (2016). Swisher was the first one to do it, off Tim Redding on June 27, 2009, just under four years before any Mets lefty did it. Ryan Howard has done it four times, with Joey Votto at three and Freddie Freeman at two.

For some loose perspective on how difficult it is for a left-handed batter to hit one over the Great Wall of Flushing, only about 1% of fly balls hit to left field by a left-handed batter went for a home run in Citi Field from 2009 through 2011, the years that the original fence was in play. This is compared to about 4% league-wide during those seasons, which includes all major league ballparks. Of all the major league ballparks, Citi Field ranked last in total home runs hit to left field by a left-handed batter while the Great Wall of Flushing was in play.