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How far would Mantle’s mighty smash have traveled, had it not smacked the upper façade?

Princeton University Press is interviewing its authors in April for Math Awareness Month. This year's theme is Mathematics and sports.

This morning Princeton University Press published an interview with Mike Huber, author of Mythematics, a book I reviewed last October. It turns out that Huber is passionate about baseball, especially about the Mathematics of the sport.

As part of our Math Awareness Month celebrations we interviewed previous faculty member of the United States Military Academy at West Point and current Associate Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College, Dr. Mike Huber. Although Huber teaches courses ranging from Statistics to Calculus his real passion is sabermetrics, the computerized measurement of baseball statistics. Huber finds that he is able to relate to students most through sabermetrics because he is able to show that what he is teaching in the classroom is relevant to the students’ passion of sports. He is also the author of Mythematics: Solving the Twelve Labors of Hercules

The interview is fun and inspiring for sports fanatics who are curious about the role of Mathematics in sports. In the interview, Huber tells a fun story:

Several years ago, I met Mr. Tony Morante, the director of tours at Yankee Stadium. He asked me to investigate a story surrounding Mickey Mantle. On May 22nd, 1963, the New York Yankees hosted the Kansas City Athletics in a night game at Yankee Stadium, before a crowd of 9,727. According to John Drebinger of The New York Times, “Mickey Mantle belted one of the most powerful home run drives of his spectacular career.” In the next paragraph, Drebinger continues, “First up in the last of the 11th with a score deadlocked at 7-all and a count of two balls and two strikes, the famed Switcher leaned into one of Carl [note: Fischer’s first name was Bill] Fischer’s fast ones and sent the ball soaring. It crashed against the upper façade of the right-field stand, which towers 108 feet above the playing field.” Mr Morante wanted to know, “How far would Mantle’s mighty smash have traveled, had it not smacked the upper façade?”

Read the interview to hear Huber's answer plus what factors he considered in determining his answer.

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