By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Only one man has ever hit the center-field scoreboard at Wrigley Field.
The distance estimate for that kind blast from home plate are anywhere from 575 to 600 feet by experts. The reality of that ever happening was broached this week after Cubs sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant both hit monster home runs with howling winds swirling in the historic ballpark.
On Tuesday, Schwarber hit a 462-foot home run to right field. On Thursday, Bryant hit a 450-foot home run as well.
There will be many more tape-measure shots for those two in the next decade, but is it possible for either one to hit the historic scoreboard with a batted ball?
Cubs manager Joe Maddon won’t say never.
“I am not going to say it is impossible,” Maddon said. “It would have to be the perfect everything. The wind (would have to be behind it). You would have to get that ball high enough. Wow, it would have to be like the ball Schwarber hit (Tuesday). Maybe like the ball Schwarber hit on top of the video board two years ago (in the 2015 NLDS). That may have a shot I think. We saw guys get close during those BPs this week but not hit it. If it is 600 feet, it will not happen.”
Bryant hit the top of the new video board in left field during the 2015 season with a blast that was estimated at 495 feet. To hit the center-field scoreboard, it would take close to another 100 feet and a drive back up the middle.
“Oh no,” Bryant said of hitting the ball off the scoreboard. “No chance. That is 650 feet, 600 at least. Get me a number on how far it is and then I will answer that. Get me a real estimate, and I will give you a better answer.”
So if Maddon had to bet, would he pick Schwarber or Bryant to potentially hit the center-field scoreboard?
“Just based on the way they hit? I don’t know,” Maddon said. “I would say Schwarbs if you had everything right going together. Then again, KB seems to hit the ball there (to center) with the most authority. Dead center field power, I think KB has that there.”
Oh, and the only man to ever hit the center-field scoreboard? That was legendary golfer Sam Snead, who in 1951 drilled the board with a golf ball using a 4-iron from home plate and then cleared it with a 2-iron, according to historical accounts.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.