06-05-2014 / By:
Background::J.D. Drew hit a monster home run during the 1997 season, but it hit a tree in flight (while still 85' off the ground) so the length of the homer could not be determined. After reading an article in the newspaper about this problem, including some estimates by the coaches and a request for some help ("Now there's a science problem for you," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "We ought to get one of our science professors over to calculate how far that might have gone."), I stopped by practice to find out more and see if I could help. The two letters to Coach Martin included below were the result.
The first letter gives relevant data obtained from a conversation with the coach and a first estimate, while the second letter gives a summary of my numerical findings. The numerical model in my program is based on the equations and tabulated drag coefficients in ``The Physics of Baseball'' by Robert K. Adair.