20 – the age of Jason Heyward, who on Monday became the youngest player in 60 years to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat.
The Braves right fielder was the youngest to perform the feat since 1950, when 19-year-old Ted Tappe hit a pinch-hit homer for Cincinnati at Ebbets Field.
“He’s only 20? That’s awesome,” Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said Wednesday, when someone mentioned to him that Heyward had been compared to Lee, among others. “I think he looks like Cliff Floyd [a former teammate of Lee's with the Marlins and Cubs]. That’s who he reminds me of. And he hits the ball hard.”
When told that the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Heyward never played organized football because his father didn’t permit it, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster could hardly believe it.
Dempster told Lee, who said, “He made a good decision.”
Heyward became the sixth player in Atlanta Braves history to homer in his major league debut and third in six years. Jeff Francoeur did it in 2005 and Jordan Schafer in 2009. Like Heyward, Schafer homered in his first major league plate appearance.
Heyward did it on the first swing of his career, driving an 0-2 pitch from Carlos Zambrano to the back of the Braves’ bullpen beyond right field. The ball traveled an estimated 465-470 feet.
Here’s a link to a diagram of Turner Field that indicates the distance of the Heyward homer. (Replays indicated the ball actually hit at least 10 feet in front of the spot indicated by the blue dot in the diagram.)