Clair: The story behind 75-year-old Luke Appling’s home run

From SABR member Michael Clair at on February 27, 2020:

In the grand scheme of things, a 275-foot home run is nothing to get too worked up over. Usually, those are the kinds of things that middle infielders hit that die in outfielders’ gloves — unless they get a little help with a bounce off an outfielder’s head.

But what about when a 75-year-old man does it? Yeah, that’s a little more impressive.

That’s what happened when Hall of Famer Luke Appling homered against Warren Spahn in the 1982 Cracker Jack Old-Timers Classic. Even that sentence reads like a kind of fiction, like something that happened when you created custom historical rosters in a video game. Instead, it was real, with two teams of bona fide greats squaring off in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on July 19, 1982. After a tweet showing off Appling’s home run went viral earlier this year, we wanted to figure out just how this moment all came together.

The game was assembled by a fan vote and a selection committee, all done to help raise money for the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America.

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Originally published: February 27, 2020. Last Updated: February 27, 2020.