Sometimes the best memorabilia—and the best stories—have nothing to do with what we often consider the best players.
You won’t find Neill “Wild Horse” Sheridan’s plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He spent 11 years
(1943-54) in the Pacific Coast League, playing in 1,446 games, driving in 516 runs and hitting a respectable but hardly eye-popping 94 career home runs.
One of those home runs, though, is the stuff of baseball legend.
On July 8, 1953, on a typically dry and very still summer night in northern California, the right handed batting Sheridan launched a home run over the center-field fence at Edmonds Field in Sacramento that cleared the 356-foot mark and kept rising. It flew past a 264-foot parking lot barricade on the fly. Newspaper reports stated the ball was found in the back seat of a car with the rear window smashed. A parking lot employee heard the glass shatter. The home run was later measured by a surveying company at a distance of 613 feet. It’s considered possibly the longest home run ever hit in competition.
News of Sheridan’s titanic blast spread quickly. It was picked up by the Associated Press and printed in newspapers across the country and even in some foreign media.
Bay Area collector Martin Jacobs specializes in 49ers memorabilia but he’s also partial to historic baseball pieces and he recently acquired the only known surviving jersey worn by Sheridan during his PCL career. The gray flannel jersey is a Wilson size 44 with #23 on the back in felt numbers. The road jersey with the block “SEALS” lettering was used by the team from 1946-1948.
The jersey originally belonged to the late Dick Dobbins, who owned an extensive collection of PCL memorabilia and was the author of several books on the league’s history.
“Having collected PCL, MLB, and NFL uniforms for over 50 years I have no doubt, from owning various Seals uniforms, that this was worn by Sheridan,” Jacobs told us. “Sheridan was the only Seal issued number 23 in 1946-48 (when the team) wore this style jersey with the plain block lettering on the front.”
Sheridan was a PCL stalwart, especially during the World War II era but he did get to experience life in the major leagues, ever so briefly.
Late in the 1948 season, Sheridan made his big league debut with the Boston Red Sox, appearing first as a pinch-runner and then as a pinch-hitter where he was called out on strikes. His big league career was over, but Sheridan returned to the PCL where he played six more seasons.
He died October 13, 2015 in Antioch, CA at the age of 93.