A few hitters had unusual stances. But we do have a sprinkling of videos of the Babe in his stance, and it was unique to the great slugger. When I was growing up in Michigan in the 1970s every kid in my neighborhood was able to do the Pete Rose stance. Ichiro Suzuki is perhaps the greatest hitter the game of baseball has ever seen. Downing was inducted into the Angels Hall of … Some argue that Tony Batista's stance was one of the strangest in the history of the league. Mike Schmidt used to wiggled his front hip in the batters’ box in what he called “his dance with the pitcher.” Eric Davis wagged his fingers and rotated the bat as he waited for the pitch. As the pitcher started his delivery, the left-handed batter would lift his left lead leg off the ground (about eight to twelve inches), then as he swung through the ball his front foot would come back to earth. Seymour adopted a stance that placed him deep in the box while leaning on his front (right) foot, placing most of his weight on the front leg. Fans found it bizarre but imitated it. Cobb’s stance allowed him to do the things he felt were most important. Oh used what he called the “flamingo” leg kick, an exaggerated version of Ott’s stance, in which he lifted his front leg high off the ground and curled it close to his back foot. The 1960s would be about individualism. He previously worked at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and for Major League Baseball. Can’t blame them much for that. Throug the years there have been players with strange batting stances. One historian wrote that Ruth’s follow through left his body “twisted in such contortion that he resembled a human barbers’ pole.”. Ed Delahanty, one of the best hitters of the late 19th century, held the bat high and off his back shoulder while spreading his legs wider than most hitters (later Hank Aaron’s stance would be compared to his). Gar Ryness has fashioned a career out of imitating famous hitters. Aaron Rowand used what became called “The Drunk” — he stood with his legs extremely far apart and leaned back and to the side awkwardly, looking like he was going to tip over. Most batters come up to the plate looking tensed up and ready to spring onto a good pitch. Wee Willie Keeler and others had also used the method previously. When he retired he ranked first in NL history in homers and third only to Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx all-time. They can stand out by showing off a big arm, cat-like fielding reflexes, or sprinter speed running the bases. The bat came up slightly and the Yankee slugger followed through with great emphasis. What did Cap Anson’s batting stance look like? The Boston Red Sox have hired Bianca Smith as a minor league coach, making her the first black woman to serve as a coach in professional baseball. But eventually, a few smart folks inside the game noticed that some players got more walks than others. In 1876, the year the National League conformed by playing under the same rules, a man named Ross Barnes hit .429. Batters were in a position of strength. When he swung the bat, Ty’s hands were together. Does it allow the batter to hit the ball as hard as he possibly can? Rose’s stance was intended to give pitchers a smaller strike zone to throw to, and it gave Rose a short, compact, energy-efficient swing. While not a powerhouse at the plate, Craig's contact hitting led to a .255 career batting average. Both approaches worked for getting to the Hall of Fame. He hit four more home runs in the World Series, helping the Giants to a title in 1933 when he clubbed a pair of homers and had seven hits in five games in the Fall Classic. As a result, Rickey walked 2,190 times, setting a record (later topped by Barry Bonds). A right-handed batter, “Fuss” pulled his front left foot in so it was directly in front of his back left foot, as if he were walking a tight rope. Here is the famous Batting Stance Guy imitating each player from the 2009 Yankees lineup. Pitches shine with blazing fastballs and nasty curve balls that fall off the table. He pulled his upper body back in a closed fashion, but that was only part of the strangeness. 3) He kept his feet pretty close together, less than a foot apart. Aaron Rowand was better known for the work he did with his glove than with his bat, but his batting stance sure was a sight to behold. Most players in Cobb’s era stood up straight. “Bags” fooled his detractors, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1991, and an MVP award three years later. The stance was so iconic that his statue in Minnesota is depicting him in his trademark stance. Thanks to a brilliant video that surfaced this week on ESPN with McCutchen emulating some of the most famous batting stances in the game, people will … There are several reasons handy: at the time he was a third baseman and Boston had Wade Boggs; they also had a good first baseman in Carlos Quintana, blocking a move of Bagwell to his other position. Kevin Youkilis was a fan favorite in Boston, and was one of the most likable ball players of the last decade or so (until he ended up with the Yankees). Ott employed a high leg kick to initiate the weight shift needed to produce his power. By 1983, his final big league season, Yaz had tried several variations, including a very closed stance and a version where he held the bat flatter near his shoulder (perhaps influenced by the teachings of Charley Lau). He tinkered and tinkered, and finally by 1962 he had developed a philosophy that he would hone for the next two decades until his untimely death from cancer in 1984. Jeff Bagwell had a similar stance to Aaron Rowand, with the only main difference being the way the two held the bat over their shoulders (Bagwell had his about as high but pointed straight back towards the third-base lower bowl). So why didn’t more players try it? Lau came up with nine absolutes of hitting. Baseball players can stand out on the diamond in a variety of ways. It was rare for photographers of that era to take photos of players in their normal stances. What was different about Henderson’s stance? Early in his career, Yaz employed a common stance: feet a little more than shoulder width apart, bat held high and back and well away from his rear left shoulder. Bagwell also stepped back towards himself when a pitch came in instead of forward, making his swing even more unconventional. Tettleton, like Rios, looked like he was simply out for a stroll and was being inconvenienced by the bat, so he would simply hold it in a way that maximized comfort. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. No matter what he did, Yaz hit: the Hall of Famer retired with more than 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. It worked pretty damn well: Musial won seven batting titles. Baseball Almanac is pleased to present a comprehensive chart of ballplayer batting stances. Few pitchers could make the baseball curve. Unlike Foxx and the Babe, Ott was a small man, weighing in at 170 pounds and standing just five foot nine inches tall. Here’s a video of Ryness doing many of his batting stance imitations: While other stars have changed their stances in mid-career (Pete Rose and Rod Carew come to mind), it’s usually because of some revolution in hitting science. Musial tucked his neck and head behind the lead shoulder, and as a result it appeared as if he was playing “peek a boo” with the pitcher. Rose quickly personified that. There were players who liked to shake the bat a lot, like Gary Sheffield and Vlad Guerrero. It was a batting practice fastball league. Oh hit 868 home runs in his career, setting a world record. Most of them stood erect in the box and faced the pitcher with both eyes and held their bats near where they wanted a pitch to be placed. In 1951 the St. Louis Browns took the tiny batting stance to the extreme when they sent midget Eddie Gaedel to the plate as a pinch-hitter in a game against the Detroit Tigers. Batting Stance Guy Strikes Again, at the Movies - Bats Blog - NYTimes.com says: June 26, 2009 at 10:05 am Having cataloged on homemade video the starting lineups and former stars of all 30 major league teams, Ryness’s latest montage sends up the ballplayers of the big screen. The Baseball Egg weekly email newsletter contains news, factoids, trivia, photos, and links to articles you can’t find anywhere else. He still held the bat high and away from his body and tucked that jaw into his lead shoulder. For decades no one paid much attention to bases on balls. And the center field TV camera angle of batter vs pitcher we’re so used to know didn’t exist. By the time his book “The Art of Hitting .300” was published in 1980, Charley Lau had cultivated a cult following that adopted his strategies on hitting a baseball. Yet somehow he maintained balance. It's Famous Movie Stances Volume 1! Does being right-handed or left-handed determine your skate stance? When the Georgia Peach saw a pitch he liked, he would move either his top hand down (to hit for more power) or slide the bottom hand up (to choke on the bat). One of the oddest stances you will ever see comes from two-time World Series winner Craig Counsell. Yastrzemski and Ripken were not afraid to change things up to get out of a slump. But his batting stance helped him become one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Because Rose was a switch-hitter he had to reverse the stance when he was in the right-hand side of the box. A walk was considered a mistake by the pitcher. Both are raised high above his head as he patiently waits for the pitch to cross the plate. Plain and simple, Craig Counsell's batting stance makes absolutely no sense. 1. He looked extremely uncomfortable. He worked on hitting from an extreme crouch, leaving very little room for the pitcher to throw a strike. He won the MVP award in ’80 and a third batting title ten years later. Will “The Thrill” Clark was known for his signature “rocking” motion, which was simply a timing mechanism. Some have stances which look very weird to us but it is their way of approaching the game. After the Lau conversion, Brett never again changed his batting stance. Longtime baseball fans will notice an influx of familiar last names and Hitters adjusted their approach and that meant, in part, that they needed to be comfortable. It worked, though, as Bagwell was a fearsome hitter - he finished his career with 449 home-runs. The cost of that division title? Batting stances are unique to each hitter. Rather than try to explain it, here’s a photo: Tony Batista had an extreme stance, and we’ll share another photo here because words don’t do it justice: Cal Ripken Jr. has explained that a “batting stance is just a starting point” in the entire process of the swing. From this setup you should be in an optimal position to hit any pitch. The batter deserved no credit for it. Apr 5, 2012 - Explore Jeanine Budd's board "Ridiculous Batting Stances", followed by 208 people on Pinterest. In many ways it was a knee-jerk reaction by a front office trying to win a World Series. Also, let’s clarify something: Cobb did not swing the bat with the split-grip. Baltimore hired him as a hitting coach when his playing career ended and Charley started teaching young Orioles his hitting method. Most notable was Kansas City third baseman George Brett, who hit .390 the year the book came out, the highest average since Ted Williams in 1941. He hit as many as 30 homers nine times, retired with 449 home runs, and in 2017 he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Brett was so successful that Lau called him his “Frankenstein Monster.” Brett changed his batting stance late in 1975, leaning far back on his left leg like a “forward slash”. Craig Counsell may hold the record for the most ugly batting stance in baseball history. He urged Lou Gehrig to try it too, but Gehrig stayed with his preferred stance, in which his feet were spread shoulder width apart and the bat was held far off his back shoulder. It was really a sight to see. Tony Batista stood facing the pitcher in an extreme open stance, then he’d swing his arms and the bat toward home plate as if he was placing something on a table. When asked about his propensity for experimentation during an interview, Ripken responded that a batting stance, "was only a starting point." Gaedel was only 43 inches tall and he had no intention of swinging his (plastic) bat. The at-bat won't start until the batter is set in his batting stance, and while some may think of it simply as just a way of standing before hitting a ball, a hitter's stance is important on so many levels. Of all the great players in baseball history, the two that are best known for tinkering with their batting stances are Carl Yastrzemski and Cal Ripken Jr. Chart note: All the possible batting combinations are included on the chart and interesting facts are found at the bottom of the page. The batting stance is the beginning of anything that happens during the exchange between pitcher and batter. Moises Alou was one of the great ballplayers of the 1990's and early 2000's - but his strange batting stance, no matter how successful it made him, will always be considered strange by today's standards (like most things we talk about from the 90's). In fact, photos exist of Ty Cobb at the plate with his front foot a few inches off the ground. Both played a long time (more than 3,000 games each), which gave them lots of trips to the plate to fiddle. Sheffield's wild swinging of the bat back and forth above his head must have gotten annoying for pitchers, but when he connected with the ball, the whole act was a thing of beauty. When it comes to unorthodox batting styles Pakistan”s Fawad Alam is up there. Lau hit .276 for the balance of his career, almost a 100-point improvement over his previous mark. He had a slightly closed stance, but not much. Ichiro quickly proved he was worthy, winning the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. Weight shift is one thing, but actually lifting the lead leg and holding it while in a batting stance has been unusual. Anyone who has ever stood in the box to hit in professional baseball has had a batting stance, but most of them have been forgettable. He seemed like a pot on the stove coming to boil. In order, he emulates Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Melky Cabrera, Ramiro Pena, Aaron Boone and Bucky Dent. Mostly though, players did not have the talent to emulate Babe’s power hitting, and after some of them tried and were unable to see great returns, they quickly abandoned it. His open stance and elbow-clicking just added to the whole show that was a Craig Counsell at-bat. As the game of cricket keeps evolving unorthodox batting styles and shots seem to have become the norm. Take Julio Franco, for example - he won five Silver Slugger awards holding the bat above his head pointing towards the outfield, a stance that no doubt was not the most effective for most batters, but one that worked just fine for Franco. Some of us who played baseball had our own stance, possibly fashioned after our baseball heroes. While some may argue that having an awkward batting stance hinders your ability to make contact with the ball, there are plenty of examples that show that this is not always the case. Alex Rios was once an up-and-coming superstar outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. If there’s a baseball bat around it’s hard to resist picking it up and taking a stance. It was an era when newsreels, radio and newspapers began sharing space with TV. Does it give him an mental or physical advantage over the pitcher he's facing? As I got older my attention turned to sports writing: game recaps, features, profiles, and the like. Ryness looks out of place here in the Lexus Home Plate Club, the VIP-only lounge nestled beneath the Petco Park grandstands. When he whiffed, he looked like a fool, but overall it was definitely worth it. 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