The Beckett Blog


The longest home run? by Andy Broome
January 21, 2009, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media

We would instinctively think the answer would me measured in feet. 500 feet? 600 feet? How about miles? One of the “longest” home runs on record actually traveled over 500 miles.

Robert Edward Montag was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1923. He served in WWII where he received the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.


Doctors thought he was so badly shot up that he’d likely never walk again, let alone play baseball. He did play baseball beginning in 1946 and played for the next 14 years.

Bob may have been one of the greatest players never to play in the major leagues. While he hit home runs he also struck out a montaggreat deal and had a weak arm in the infield.

He spent 7 years with the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in the 1950s. Montag was the most popular players in Atlanta during this decade. He is the all-time Atlanta Crackers homerun leader and some considered him the Southern Association’s answer to Babe Ruth.

Just how popular was Bob to Atlanta? He hit the first home run in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, the place a guy named Hank Aaron would turn into a launching pad of long balls. But you say hey, Bob never suited up in the big leagues?

According to the book “Twilight of the Long-ball Gods” By John Schulian, Montag was asked to film a commercial for a local savings and loan out at the new ball park before it opened in 1965. During the filming someone asked Bob if he wanted to take a few cuts. Unable to resist taking a few swings in the brand new ballpark Montag took them up on the offer.

Bob said “The second ball I hit ended up in the blue seats in right field. Boy, I damn near passed out.”

Bob hit that home run 7 years after suiting up for his last Atlanta Crackers game.

While Montag hit quite a few home runs in Atlanta it would be one in 1954 he would be most famous for.

During a game in 1954, Bob hit a monster 450-foot home run over the right field wall. The ball landed in a coal car of a passing train. It appeared that ball was long gone.

Days later, a fireman aboard that train appeared in Atlanta. He presented the ball to Bob and told him he recovered it from the coal car. The fireman told him the train the ball had landed on that day traveled from Atlanta to Nashville, TN and back for a 518-mile round trip.

That would mean that home run blast was 518-miles and 450-feet! Clearly the longest home run in baseball history!

Bob passed away in 2005. What happened to that ball remains a mystery.

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4 Comments so far
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AWHDUDE

Comment by awhdude

Great article. I just wanted to let you know that the picture of Bob Montag was made by me. I have many others. I gave the negatives to the Atlanta History Center in 1988. After the “Southern Bases”documentary I meet Bob again. I have many autographs of his. I also have game worn uniforms seats from Poncey.If your interested in talking let me know, I have a very large Southern Association colllection which also includes shoes, gloves and many other items.
Jerry Davis
Crackersbb 706.695.4167

Comment by Jerry Davis

Fantastic Jerry! I had no idea the photographer of this particular photo. It came from a collection of photos by a man in Dalton, GA. A Mr. Slate, I believe. I assumed it was his.
While I am a collector of all thing’s Chattanooga, the Crackers rivals, Bob’s story has always been one of my favorites. I got to chat with his daughter and learned even more about Bob.
I would love to chat some time. My email is: abroome@beckett.com

Comment by Andy Broome

The longest home run ever hit was by Ed Kurpiel of the Modesto Red Birds in 1971. Ed never played a game in the majors but did sit the bench for the Cardinals in September, I believe it was 1973. He had great memories of Flood and Gibson and especially, Hall of Famer, Lou Brock. That ball somehow travelled 738 feet.

Comment by george hubschman




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