How far could Superman hit a baseball?

Bats break when you hit the ball on the wrong part of a bat. The bat (like any rigid object) has natural vibrational modes. You are supposed to hit the ball where the lowest harmonics of the bat have nodes (“sweet spot(s)”). It instead the ball connects at an antinode, you send energy into the vibration of the bat, which can snap it.

I’m not saying Superman can’t break a bat even at the sweet spot, but the existence of broken bats in MLB is a bad way to estimate the strength of a bat.

As confirmed by Lenny Randle of the Seattle Mariners in 1981 when he successfully* blew on a bunted ball so that it would go foul but the batter was still awarded first base.

*It is disputed whether he was actually blowing on the ball or just yelling at it to go foul.
And I agree with the earlier comment that there is nothing at all in the Superman oeuvre that suggests mechanical physics is ever consulted when Superman is performing Super feats. So my answer would be that the ball would fly as far as necessary to serve the purposes of the episode/comic book/movie.

But it should be relatively easy to find the answer by creating a bat swing machine that can hit a stationary ball and increasing the bat speed until you’ve reached the maximum distance without consistently breaking bat or ball.

However, that’s not listed in the OP as a disqualifying circumstance. Remember, this is for science. And how would you like to be that pitcher? Or, hell, anybody in the outfield facing a line drive?

I could have sworn that the Mythbusters did do a show where they tried to figure out the maximum distance a baseball could be hit under perfect conditions…maybe it was another Discovery channel show.

They did a bunch of baseballs myths, but I don’t think that was one of them. They did show that it would take a superhuman hit to get the outside of the ball to come off though.

I can’t find the rule used, but in 1981 Lenny Randle blew a ball foul and the umps ruled it a fair ball. Lenny was a defensive player and maybe that makes a difference. I can only assume a reciprocal would be made if an offensive player attempted to deflect a ball.

Ahh…knocking the cover off is probably what I was remembering…

I thought that there was some retcon or fanwank about how Superman exudes a forcefield of some sort that reinforces the things that he is in direct contact with - which is why he can catch a falling airliner without his hands tearing through the thin aluminum skin or pick up a skyscraper without sinking into the ground. If that is the case, then his field would keep the bat from shattering, and presumably could extend to the baseball for the amount of time that it is in contact with the bat.

I can’t speak from the baseball side, but the best stats on Superman would arguably be from the DC Heroes RPG. Here are relevant stats for various incarnations of Superman, along with what they translate to. The stats generally translate to a range - I’ll use the upper limit to the ranges. Others can use these benchmarks to figure out what it means for baseball. The standard way of determining how far you can throw involves the STR stat, but I’ve included other stats that might be relevant for calculatiions based on Superman’s other attributes and powers.

Superman (2nd edition DC Heroes with Mayfair Exponential Game System)

1938
DEX 10 / STR 15 / Superspeed none / Flight none - Jumping 12

1942
DEX 7 / STR 13 / Superspeed 13 / Flight 12

Pre Crisis
DEX 26 / STR 50 / Superspeed 25 / Flight 45

Post Crisis
DEX 15 / STR 20 / Superspeed 14 / Flight 15

Post Byrne
DEX 15 / STR 25 / Superspeed 11 / Flight 18

DEX determines basic movement speed

10 = 900 miles/hour
7 = 112.5 miles/hour
26 = 57,600,000 miles/hour
15 = 27,000 miles/hour

STR determines how far you can lift or throw an object (in this case up to 50 lbs)

15 = lift 450 tons / throw 50lbs 30 miles
13 = lift 110 tons / throw 8 miles
50 = lift 1.63x10^13 tons / throw 1.07x10^12 miles
20 = lift 15,200 tons / throw 1000 miles
25 = lift 486,400 tons / throw 32,000 miles

The system is only set up officially for 0-50 lbs. But assuming a baseball is 142 grams (.31 lbs) and extrapolating the rules system, theoretically this would make throwing it:

15 = throw baseball 2000 miles
13 = 500 miles
50 = 4,194,304,000 miles
20 = 64,000 miles
25 = 2,048,000 miles

Jumping

12 = jump 4 miles

Superspeed

(in this case up to 50 lbs)
13 = run/throw 50lbs 7200 mph or throw 8 miles
25 = run/throw 28,800,000 mph or throw 32,000 miles
14 = run/throw 14,400 mph or throw 16 miles
11 =run/throw 1800 mph or throw 2 miles

(extrapolating for baseball)
13 = throw baseball 450,000 mph or 500 miles
25 = 1,843,200,000 mph or 2,048,000 miles
14 = 900,000 mph or 1000 miles
11 =112,500 mph or 125 miles

Flight
12 = 3600 mph
45 = 3.02 x10^13 mph
15 = 27,000 mph
18 = 225,000 mph

They did bat breaking on that new show Time Warp. Some university somewhere has a machine that fires baseballs into a stationary bat. They adjusted the point where the ball strikes along the length of the bat. The slow motion film makes the bat appear to flex like a wet noodle and the ball squishes like it was made of rubber. The difference between the sweet spot and a spot where the bat breaks was only a few inches. How this applies to Supes I don’t know.

Additional notes:

DEX determines throwing speed, but only determines running speed up to 4. Any running speed greater requires super speed. Superspeed includes both running and throwing.

1942
DEX 7 / STR 13 / Superspeed 13 / Flight 12
Note : this means he can superspeed run/throw faster than he can fly, and can superspeed throw/run faster than his normal throw

Pre Crisis
DEX 26 / STR 50 / Superspeed 25 / Flight 45
Note: This means his regular throwing speed is more than his running/throwing superspeed, but he can fly faster than he can run or throw

Post Crisis
DEX 15 / STR 20 / Superspeed 14 / Flight 15
Note: This means his normal throwing speed is faster than his running/throwing superspeed, and he can throw at the same speed he flies, and run at half that speed

Post Byrne
DEX 15 / STR 25 / Superspeed 11 / Flight 18
Note: this means his normal throwing speed is faster than his running superspeed, and he can fly faster than he can throw or run

The rules allow a bit of ;atitude as to what constitutes a “bat”

So our hero could simply turn a stick 2 3/4 inches in diameter (no thin part) on a lathe and use, say, mahogany or ebony instead of ash. It would weigh several pounds instead of the standard 33 ounces or so, but Superman can compensate for the reduction in bat speed.

Or for that matter he could take a telephone pole and Super-Shmush it into a really dense bat

Probably not, as a “super-smushed pole” might not qualify as a “stick”. (it’s been processed)

There is also the following note from the rules, which might further disqualify it:

hmm, but…

I guess he could wrap the 18 inch handle with titanium or something really strong and shank it. Of course you’d need to add knurling or something so that it did improve his grip.

I love this board.

There’s another complication- Superman wouldn’t necessarily have to impart all the momentum to the ball in one impact. Using his superhuman reflexes he could “catch” the ball on the end of his bat, then fling it away again. So the ball could undergo a more prolonged acceleration with a lower peak impulse.

This simulation, which takes air resistance into account. indicates that even if he could impart escape velocity, the ball would travel less than 500 m. Tripling the initial velocity only gains you about another 60 m.

I’m sure that you would achieve mechanical destruction of the ball long before he could hit it hard enough to send it a kilometer.

I can’t get the app working on my computer, but this looks like the closest thing yet to a decent guess.

If we start talking about things like super-breath and super-fields the question becomes a lot less interesting as the answer becomes essentially “as far as the writer needs it to”, as obfusciatrist wrote.

I saw jim Rice check his swing and have the bat break without hitting the ball. That guy was stronh. Unfortunately his kryptonite was the Yankees.