I have written a few times in recent weeks that I think the Mets ought to be aggressive with the fences being brought in, because it benefits the hitters.  I really think it would benefit the Mets’ hitters more than most think.

My mind went to a former Met who played a big role in 1969, Donn Clendenon.  159 career homers, a decent but pretty ordinary total. 
Except he played in extremely cavernous Forbes Field.  So I thought I would look at one decent homer year he had – in 1966 – and see how the home field disadvantage of playing in a park the size of Montana might have affected him.

DRASTIC would be an understatement:

Home:  in 75 games and 272 at bats, 3 homers and .404 slug %.

Road:  in 80 games and 299 at bats, 25 homers and .625 slug %.

25 vs. 3 homers in essentially the same # of games!  Good grief!

75% of his career at bats were with the Pirates while they were in Forbes Field.  

Career-wise, he hit 58 homers in home games and 101 on the road, in roughly equal at bats.

He escaped to the Mets and Shea (also pitcher-friendly, but not nearly as much) and had 45 homers in 861 at bats, a fine ratio.  My guess without calculating it is that only 25% - 30% of his homers in his Pirates days came at home.  Too deep, screwed him up.

Had he played his entire career in Wrigley, would he have had 225 career homers and not 159?  Most likely.

Moral of this story?  

Move the Mets’ fences in aggressively this off-season and watch the hitters blossom.  If Donn Clendenon were playing today, he would approve.


Mack Ade said...

Brennan has the fences moved behind Travis d'Arnaud now... a foul tip gets you a ground rule double

Thomas Brennan said...

I have a great idea - remove the fences completely and donate them to Texas for use on our Southern border!

bob gregory said...


Very thoughtful research.
Well done

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Bob.
I actually drafted that article really fast and so perhaps did not give my bottom line - here is what I would like the Mets to realize and do:

Realize that fans by and large dig the long ball, and the Mets can give more of that to them by adjusting fences.

Hitters would love it.

Pitchers would adjust.

Net net, I think they win 5 to 10 more games at home with shorter fences, as it eases burden on hitters.

More wins, and fans liking long ball, they draw a lot more.

I offered dimensions in an article a few weeks ago. To keep it simple, they can pick the dimensions (they will anyway).

So they should study where and how many close-but-not-homer shots were hit last few years, determine poor carry effect in that. And calculate from that a neutral depth - one that favors neither hitters or pitchers.

Then make the dimensions 2 feet shorter so it is SLIGHTLY favorable to hitters, making it SLIGHTLY a hitters' park.

If they are only thinking of some moving in in right and right center, I doubt it will equal what I suggest above. They'll not move them in enough.

Lastly, power hitters are SO expensive these days. Give them an environment (smaller field) where they can succeed and not fail.

That's my proposed framework. Up to them to develop one of their own and not blow it - AGAIN. They blew it when they built the park and when they half-stepped it in shortening the fences a few years ago.

So their track record is poor. They need to get it right this time.

Steve from Norfolk said...

I still like changing the dimensions back to Shea's measurements. I think it would be a great marketing move, as well as be enough of a move in to be a real help to the hitters, while still remaining, as Shea was, a pitcher's park.

Thomas Brennan said...

You never know, Steve, maybe they'll do that, more or less. Couldn't down the lines. But I disliked Shea dimensions too. I still remember watching Willie Montanez in 1978, when he had 17 HRs and 96 RBIs in 159 games. It seemed he had about 17 balls caught on the track that year.

IMO, those fences too were several feet too deep - very few good hitting teams played in that park. Cleon Jones too - I remember seeing him hit a lot of balls caught in right center before the 396 sign.

Reese Kaplan said...

i hadn't realized who Donn Clendenon was until he landed with the Mets in 1969. I didn't know that Forbes was considered such a pitchers park when the Pirates had some pretty illustrious hitters.

Great insights, Tom.

Mack's Mets © 2012