The open setup adds more movement to the stride and talent to land in the correct position. People suffering from OCD–and by the look of reality TV that means most of us–found their hero in Nomar. Certain batting stances entice us -- with either efficacy or eccentricity -- to the point of emulation (though nobody emulates quite so well as the one and only Gar Ryness, aka “Batting Stance Guy”). In fact, photos exist of Ty Cobb at the plate with his front foot a few inches off the ground. My favorite Batista incarnation was when he was a Montreal Expo. Both approaches worked for getting to the Hall of Fame. Yet somehow he maintained balance. For decades no one paid much attention to bases on balls. Hands & bat mistakes. The most peculiar stance that I've ever seen, but it worked. As late as 1882 the pitcher could not release a pitch from above his hips. In no particular order here are some of the player’s whose names keep on popping up when the topic is quirky hitters. The 21-year old debuted with the Cardinals in 1941, and he quickly made a big impact from the left side of the plate. On the field, Ott looked like nothing special, and off the diamond he didn’t seem any different than the average man on the street. He was a competent player, but his batting stance left you worried he’d taken too many Ambien the night before. But his batting stance helped him become one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. 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. 38,704 posts, read 93,244,659 times Reputation: 29740. Johnny Damon’s stance could have been called “The Shake & Wiggle” because he wiggled his bat behind his head and shook his body back and forth, faster and faster as the pitcher began his delivery. In the 1970s, Oscar Gamble stuck his backside out and leaned across the plate, and Mickey Rivers did something similar, tightening his body into a ball, sort of like Pete Rose, with an added bat wag. That’s #4. Downing had one of the most open batting stances in modern baseball, and it was largely effective, especially for the Angels in the 1980s. His success led to imitation: within a few years there were other big league hitters closing their stances, most famously Harvey Kuenn, who won a batting title for Detroit. His bat rested on his shoulder as if he was taking a little league photo. For a ballplayer the search for a batting stance is a kind of search for athletic identity. Now take your front foot and place it five-to-seven inches toward the pitcher. 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. For a while no one kept track of them. Or maybe it was something else. There were four notable things about Cobb’s stance: 1) He kept his hands very low, below his waist, tilting the bat toward the catcher on a 45 degree angle. Balance is key, so a batting stance should be neither too wide nor too narrow. This man absolutely smashed batting conventions and rules with his off-the-wall stance in the batter's box. Maybe they assumed only immortals like Ruth could use such a stance. May 25, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (31) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. It looked awkward, but Seymour won the batting title that way in 1905 when he hit .377 for the Reds. He stood with his feet far apart and the bat off his back shoulder almost flat and perpendicular to the ground. He’s still almost universally considered the greatest baseball player in history. He won the MVP award in ’80 and a third batting title ten years later. Here are the five weirdos who reinvented the batting stance. The Velcro straps on his gloves were pulled and retightened with all the drama of Shakespeare. 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. It is important for your weight to be on your back foot, with your front foot planted, so you can get your whole body behind your swing. Like Cobb, he held the bat low, practically cradling the nob on his belt. Will “The Thrill” Clark was known for his signature “rocking” motion, which was simply a timing mechanism. Ichiro makes pointing a bat down the line seem like a deep shoulder stretch. By 1974 Yaz settled on an odd stance that saw him leaning dramatically forward on his right leg toward the pitcher. There were players who liked to shake the bat a lot, like Gary Sheffield and Vlad Guerrero. Some people in the Red Sox organization predicted he would never hit for enough power to be successful in Fenway Park. Of course the Hulk eventually changes back into a normal man, but Juan had until his next cycle ran out before that was a problem. When he swung he uncoiled and propelled himself toward the baseline. A weight shift with a slight lifting of the front foot had been done before, of course. Batting Stance Extreme Change? Every ballplayer has their own stance. It’s their one moment to stand apart from the team and strut. At the time of the trade, Bagwell was tearing up the minor leagues, but he wasn’t hitting home runs. Walks were extremely rare and not encouraged. Major League Baseball Player Batting Stances Chart. Ruth stood with his feet nearly touching each other and standing at the extreme rear of the batters’ box. You gotta have your own flavor. The actual swing seems secondary to the burst of speed Ichiro gets out of the box. How about Billy Hamilton or Dan Brouthers? Because Rose was a switch-hitter he had to reverse the stance when he was in the right-hand side of the box. Your email address will not be published. Next Gallery They shine the brightest: The young stars of AFF Championship Next Gallery . It was an era when newsreels, radio and newspapers began sharing space with TV. A select few did attempt to use the Babe’s stance: teammate Bob Meusel tried it for nearly a full season. It took an expansion team desperate for success for Charley to get a shot. 4) Cobb crouched over at the waist, but did not bend his legs, it was like he was reaching over to get something on the other side of the table. Fewer Major League hitters use this stance, because of the obvious distance it takes you from the hitting zone. Ichiro employed a stance where he pointed his bat out at the pitcher prior to the pith, pinched his legs close together, and lifted his front leg as he prepared to swing, influenced slightly by Oh. FULLSCREEN. Boy was it fun to watch. As a young Cincinnati Red in the 1960s, Rose’s batting stance reflected the “old times.” He stood fairly straight up with his bat out in front of his chest, ready to whip it through the strike zone. When the pitch arrived, he’d pull his arms into hitting position and uncoil his body as he stepped into the baseball. Dan is the author of three books on baseball. It worked pretty damn well: Musial won seven batting titles. There were guys hitting over .400 nearly every year before 1900. Baseball Almanac is pleased to present a comprehensive chart of ballplayer batting stances. The man never seemed to have gloves that fit. Wee Willie Keeler and others had also used the method previously. When I mentioned this column to people I was surprised by the amount of Tettleton love out there. What was different about Henderson’s stance? This was the stance Yaz used in 1967 when he won the Triple Crown while leading the Red Sox to the pennant. Fans found it bizarre but imitated it. If great enough it can end up as a player’s calling card long after they have left the diamond. And many photographs of The Sultan of Swat show him in poses, facing the camera or following through on an imaginary swing. The 1960s would be about individualism. And Cobb bent over so he could position his head closer to the plate, better to see the inside part of the strike zone. Build your custom FanSided Daily email newsletter with news and analysis on Seattle Mariners and all your favorite sports teams, TV shows, and more. The batting stance has long been the Cadillac of the player’s repertoire. Ott employed a high leg kick to initiate the weight shift needed to produce his power. 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. Craig Counsell. Batting stances are unique to each hitter. Finally, the Royals accepted Lau’s methods. When @MLBVault recently asked whose stance we imitated the most growing up, a wide and wonderful assortment of answers arrived. Why did the Sox part with Bagwell? Rickey Henderson developed his batting stance independent of any outside influence. he's always had one of the more unique stances at the plate fielder lays into one deep right center field. He remains one of the greatest right fielders to ever play the game. Throug the years there have been players with strange batting stances. A few hitters had unusual stances. But can anyone tell you what his batting stance was like? But the strangest batting stance of the 1970s belonged to John Wockenfuss, a utility player primarily for the Detroit Tigers. Ott was famous for it, but few players followed his suit. Rose quickly personified that. Joe Morgan was famous for his “flap” where he flexed his rear left elbow as the pitch was being delivered. Among the many stances that are used for batting in baseball, the square stance is the most commonly used stance. 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. Before a hitter goes into the “heel down” position, their style is unlikely to have a negative impact on their hitting success. Ken Williams of the St. Louis Browns — like the Babe a left-handed hitter — used Ruth’s stance for a few years with success, but then returned to his favored style. Movies were in their infancy when the Great Bambino stepped on stage as a raw rookie in 1914. 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. Also, let’s clarify something: Cobb did not swing the bat with the split-grip. 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. 2) He held his hands one to three inches apart on the bat handle. Keep Your Eyes on the Pitcher. So why didn’t more players try it? He’d step into the box and reach as high as he could on his tippy toes. How to Play. Even though pitchers were standing much closer to the plate (45 feet in some cases), the rules favored the hitter because pitchers couldn’t and didn’t throw the ball hard, and their tosses were meant to be reasonable offerings. Ala Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, “Stan The Man” kept his feet close together, but he tucked himself back into a closed configuration. It was a batting practice fastball league. Only one of those things was unusual. 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). Bagwell went on to a Hall of Fame career for the Astros, and the trade remains one of the most lopsided in history. Most players in Cobb’s era stood up straight. 34 of the best batting stances in baseball history. Your email address will not be published. His stance involved holding the bat horizontal and almost hiding half his body from the pitcher. Breaking down great batting stances from the 1980s. It worked well: Charlie Hustle had a 44-game hitting streak in 1978 and seven years later he broke Cobb’s all-time hit record, a mark that may never be topped. Rarely is the open setup the solution to their hitting woes. The bat floated above to add height. (Ichiro Suzuki later used the same approach with his feet in the batters’ box.) Some scouts simply thought his batting stance was too odd to lead to a long career. A video from the 1932 World Series shows Ruth moving his hands so that the bat seems to be turning, as if he was churning butter. As a result, Rickey walked 2,190 times, setting a record (later topped by Barry Bonds). 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 … Shorter ballplayers naturally have a smaller strike zone. The open stance shown on the left is good if you find yourself stepping in the "bucket" when a pitch is thrown. It worked though, as he won seven batting titles using that batting stance. Without further ado, the very official, thoroughly researched ranking of the 15 most imitated baseball batting stances in backyards across America since 1975. As long as you have all the basics down when your front heel hits the ground, you’re chances of successfully hitting the ball are greatly increased. Counsell’s stance took from ideas first handed out in kindergarten. After failing in the first innings of the match, Alam's remarkable 139 in the second innings impressed the Pakistani fans. All Galleries . One historian wrote that Ruth’s follow through left his body “twisted in such contortion that he resembled a human barbers’ pole.”. Open stance. The point was for the batter to put the ball in play. Basketball lets you tattoo your forehead, but running a pick and roll every 24 seconds is the definition of robotic. He had a slightly closed stance, but not much. The video below shows Ott taking several swings with his unique leg kick. We'll never pass along your email address to spammers, scammers, or the like. It’s hard to imagine now, more than seven decades after his first major league game, but Stan Musial’s batting stance was revolutionary for his time. Many baseball fans have a favorite stance. This article is about the history of batting stances and the players who had famous stances. The batter no longer had a great advantage and pitchers were becoming sophisticated with their pitching repertoires. From this position, a batsman has a good access to a straight ball and can usually play straight and the ball goes through the onside very well with front and back foot drives. Some players like to be calm at their starting point, like Cobb standing with his feet together and almost still, while others, like Dave Winfield, liked to move their feet and body (“dancing with the pitcher”) as the pitch was en route. 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. While some historians have made a big deal out of Cobb holding his hands a few inches apart on the bat handle, it was not unusual. Your favorite teams, topics, and players all on your favorite mobile devices. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Required fields are marked *. Rate 5 stars Rate 4 stars Rate 3 stars Rate 2 stars Rate 1 star . The A’s tried him for a year until they too got rid of his “crazy ideas.”. It was copied by many other big leaguers, even hitters who were known for their power. Was there ever a more nonchalant batter than Zeile? He kept his hands just above his jersey's letters, in tight and close. He reached 3,000 hits and is one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game. A small guy like Counsell needs to make himself bigger. “The Batting Stance Guy” was born; soon after, he posted an online video of every MLB team’s top stances (check YouTube and type: Batting Stances: “team … The body twitching was just an opening act for his glove work. It’s the same approach to take in the wild when confronted with predators. He stood with his feet close together so he could quickly shuffle them into either direction depending on where he wanted to hit the ball. Unit number thirty plan high fly ball deep left field that ball is way back home run. The bat came up slightly and the Yankee slugger followed through with great emphasis. A Double-A prospect named Jeff Bagwell, the lone player sent to Houston for Andersen. This afternoon is her first TB parctice since the change, hopefully she hits today like she has the last few batting practices with me. This method — feet close together, hands very low, tremendous weight shift — clearly worked very well for the Babe. Juan Gone was a good representation of how the Hulk might have stood if he played baseball. Few tried to hit from it, but everyone could imitate it. The early 1970s saw Yaz mess with his batting stance almost every spring. Craig Counsell may hold the record for the most ugly batting stance in baseball history. During his all-star years the man was the master of the infield single due to that motion. Pete Rose came into baseball when it was still shaking off the 1950s, an era dominated by the three New York teams. Milt May stretched the bat two to three feet above his head as he waited in the box, almost as if he was raising a broom to the rafters. Weight shift is one thing, but actually lifting the lead leg and holding it while in a batting stance has been unusual. This one is second most common, and is usually from a result of having some problems with the square stance. If your accountant was this fidgety you might consider closing your account. When he retired he ranked first in NL history in homers and third only to Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx all-time. He’s a guava protein shake away from an intro zumba class. When the pitch arrived, Ruth moved his mammoth frame forward toward the baseball, putting every ounce of his body into his swing. It’s possible that Rose’s stance (the “Crouching C” stance that he used during the heyday of the Big Red Machine and for the remainder of his career) is the most imitated in history. He won his first batting title the following year. How to Set Up Properly. An open stance is one where the toe line – or again the heel line – is not parallel to the target line but will instead cross it behind the ball. Of our major sports, baseball is the one with the strongest embrace of quirks and individuality. Her stance is only open about 2", but just that little bit has made a huge differnce. 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. Clearly, the unorthodox methods used by Ott, Oh, and Ichiro, all left-handed hitters, didn’t halt their assault on the record books. You gotta have your own swag. Carew had one of the most unconventional batting stances the game has ever seen, specifically because of the way he held his bat. The weirdness in batting stances has exploded since the age of Wockenfuss and other random oddballs. Oh hit 868 home runs in his career, setting a world record. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. But eventually, a few smart folks inside the game noticed that some players got more walks than others. I won’t list them all here (you can see them on his wikipedia page), but the two most important are: (1) a good weight shift and (2) having the bat in launch position as soon as the front foot touches the ground. Ichiro eventually compiled more than 3.000 hits in the majors and won two batting titles. The baseball was being thrown harder than ever before: it was moving, dipping and diving. 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. He had more than 4,000 hits and he didn’t get them by swinging a bat with his hands apart. He writes for several websites from his home near Lake Michigan. No matter what he did, Yaz hit: the Hall of Famer retired with more than 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. I enjoyed his cameo in Little Big League, but that wasn’t close to the performance he put on in the box. Chart note: All the possible batting combinations are included on the chart and interesting facts are found at the bottom of the page. Not by big leaguers, but by players at all levels. Until he tumbled over Niagara Falls after drinking one too many, Big Ed hit for great power and his style was copied by many sluggers. I guess we should call it a “Parenthesis” stance, since the result is a left parenthesis when Pete was batting left handed and right parenthesis the other way. Jay Buhner of the Mariners is one of the more notable hitters that uses the open stance. 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. So, to answer the question, … Part Broadway dance routine and part long lost tribal dance, the batting stance is a highly personal beast. In order to position yourself properly for an open stance … It was so unusual that nearly every time he went to the plate the announcer mentioned it. Giants’ outfielder Mel Ott was one of the best players in baseball during a career that spanned from 1926 to 1947. Baltimore hired him as a hitting coach when his playing career ended and Charley started teaching young Orioles his hitting method. Batista was the Usher of open stance batting. But we do have a sprinkling of videos of the Babe in his stance, and it was unique to the great slugger. Gaedel was only 43 inches tall and he had no intention of swinging his (plastic) bat. But as the 60’s began to morph into the 1970s, Rose started to clench his stance into a new form, making himself smaller and smaller. Little fellas like Maxie Bishop and Eddie Stanky drew walks, so that made sense. But his approach seemed weird to veterans in the organization and he was let go after one year. On August 30, the Sox acquired veteran lefthander Larry Andersen from the Astros. In ’04 he broke the major league record for hits in a season when he piled up an incredible 262. It was probably a natural physical response to a pitch coming in at high speeds, an attempt to accentuate a weight shift. He might be the only Hall of Famer to be discarded because he had a funny batting stance. Giants ’ outfielder Mel famous open batting stances was one of the player ’ s calling card long after have! Also held the bat so hard it danced in front of his,... The stride and talent to land in the first innings of the batter 's box )...... one pitch, then open up on the chart and interesting facts are found at left... Get them by swinging a bat with the Cardinals in 1941, and his front hip pulled! If playing a flute chart of ballplayer batting stances has exploded since the age of Wockenfuss and Random. 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