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Aaron's No. 755 landing site located04/17/2007 7:40 PM ET
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- It was one of the more forgettable home runs of Hank Aaron's remarkable, record-setting career. But it was nonetheless historic, and the Brewers are going to great lengths this summer to commemorate it. The club has employed a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee engineering professor and three of his students to identify the precise landing spot of Aaron's 755th and final Major League home run. They still have some tweaking to do, but on Tuesday, Dr. Alan J. Horowitz and his team revealed what they believe is the spot: Coordinates N 43 degrees 1.821 minutes/W 87 degrees 58.347 minutes. That location is otherwise known as Brewers Lot 1, and it sits just beyond the left field wall of Helfaer Field, a youth baseball and softball facility built generally on the spot where County Stadium once stood. From the spot, you can see the statue of Aaron that sits on Miller Park's home plate plaza. In June, the Brewers will unveil a plaque commemorating the location of Aaron's historic homer, to be built right into the surface of the parking lot. Aaron is expected to attend. "It's a preferred parking lot which is now even more preferred," Brewers executive vice president Rick Schlesinger joked. No. 755, a seventh-inning solo shot off Angels reliever Dick Drago on July 20, 1976, was not one of Aaron's more impressive home runs. The baseball hooked just inside the left-field foul pole at County Stadium and landed in section 28 of the lower grandstand. It was only 315 feet from home plate to the left-field foul pole, and after reviewing the grainy video of the event, Horowitz estimated that the person who first touched the ball while it was in flight was 363 feet from the plate. "That's the legal end of the flight of the baseball," said Horowitz, chair of the Civil Engineering and Mechanics Department at UWM. "The point we're locating today is actually directly below the point where the fan touched that ball." That ball eventually was retrieved by a member of the Brewers grounds crew, but was never returned to Aaron. The Brewers won the game, 6-2, but were 18 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees, and months passed before anyone realized it was the Home Run King's final shot. In order to identify the spot, Horowitz and his team of UWM seniors Colin Casey, Alex Cowan and Michael DeBoer -- all Wisconsin natives -- reviewed video of the home run, detailed seating charts from County Stadium and blueprints of the Miller Park worksite. "We're still a little bit unsure when we do something like that, that Miller Park was built according to the plans," Horowitz said. "So we will be doing additional measurements to identify this particular location. We are very confident of where we have it, but in order to verify and do some double-checking we will be bringing in some very high-precision GPS equipment." There is what Horowitz called a "well-established surveying benchmark" about 1,800 feet away, in a work yard owned by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District. Aaron played 14 of his 23 big league seasons in Milwaukee, first with the Braves from 1954 until they left for Atlanta following the 1965 season. Then-Brewers owner Bud Selig brought him back to Milwaukee in 1975, and Aaron played his final two seasons for the Brewers, hitting 12 home runs in 1975 and 10 in 1976. He was the National League MVP in 1957, when the Braves won Milwaukee's only World Series, is MLB's all-time leader in home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs and played in 21 consecutive All-Star Games from 1955-1975. Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Hammerin' Hank's final home run has been back in the spotlight of late as Giants outfielder Barry Bonds slugs his way closer to the mark. As Casey marked an "X" in blue spray paint Tuesday to mark Aaron's spot, Bonds was 18 home runs shy of tying the record. "Whether or not that record gets broken, from our perspective he is the Milwaukee home run king," Schlesinger said. "We thought it was appropriate now to recognize this great achievement."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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