This was the stance Yaz used in 1967 when he won the Triple Crown while leading the Red Sox to the pennant. Ichiro makes pointing a bat down the line seem like a deep shoulder stretch. It was copied by many other big leaguers, even hitters who were known for their power. But eventually, a few smart folks inside the game noticed that some players got more walks than others. A select few did attempt to use the Babe’s stance: teammate Bob Meusel tried it for nearly a full season. When he swung he uncoiled and propelled himself toward the baseline. “Bags” fooled his detractors, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1991, and an MVP award three years later. What did Cap Anson’s batting stance look like? Learn how your comment data is processed. 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 pulled his upper body back in a closed fashion, but that was only part of the strangeness. Balance is key, so a batting stance should be neither too wide nor too narrow. Both approaches worked for getting to the Hall of Fame. Her stance is only open about 2", but just that little bit has made a huge differnce. I enjoyed his cameo in Little Big League, but that wasn’t close to the performance he put on in the box. Yaz tucked his jaw into his lead right shoulder, something he did his entire career no matter what stance he used. As for the power? Also, let’s clarify something: Cobb did not swing the bat with the split-grip. 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 a result, there’s no “definitive” Yaz or Cal stance. Downing was inducted into the Angels Hall of … In fact, photos exist of Ty Cobb at the plate with his front foot a few inches off the ground. Please don’t smash me. Kevin Youkilis used a similar stance years later but added a twist: he separated his hands so his top (right) hand was several inches forward on the bat, making it appear that Youk was tuning a violin. ... one pitch, then open up on the next. Your privacy is safe with us. You gotta have your own flavor. The Velcro straps on his gloves were pulled and retightened with all the drama of Shakespeare. The southpaw pitched brilliantly for Boston down the stretch and the Sox edged Toronto for the division crown. Popular Quizzes Today. 34 of the best batting stances in baseball history. Here are the five weirdos who reinvented the batting stance. The bucket refers to the outside line of the batter's box. He swung at so many first pitches because it was exhausting to keep that whole routine going. In no particular order here are some of the player’s whose names keep on popping up when the topic is quirky hitters. And many photographs of The Sultan of Swat show him in poses, facing the camera or following through on an imaginary swing. Breaking down great batting stances from the 1980s. The graceful, conservative Hollywood style of Joe DiMaggio was going by the wayside. Here is where they whip out their personal stamp on the game. When he retired he ranked first in NL history in homers and third only to Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx all-time. It worked though, as he won seven batting titles using that batting stance. If your accountant was this fidgety you might consider closing your account. A small guy like Counsell needs to make himself bigger. We’ve all done it. 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. Realizing the importance of these tactics, and aware that he was not physically gifted enough to do them strictly through athletic prowess, in 1962 Lau started using a batting stance that was designed to help him get the bat into the hitting zone quicker. There were players who liked to shake the bat a lot, like Gary Sheffield and Vlad Guerrero. by Prue0016 Plays Quiz not verified by Sporcle . As a result of rules that favored the batter, hitters didn’t worry about having to make contact. Big leaguers could do it too, but no one, other than maybe Mickey Rivers, ever hit like that in the majors. Good or Bad “That setup is OK, but make sure you step back into the right spot.” Many players switch to the wide open stance, thinking that will help them. The 1960s would be about individualism. Boy was it fun to watch. He remains one of the greatest right fielders to ever play the game. Few pitchers could make the baseball curve. 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). In 1876, the year the National League conformed by playing under the same rules, a man named Ross Barnes hit .429. But the strangest batting stance of the 1970s belonged to John Wockenfuss, a utility player primarily for the Detroit Tigers. The batting stance is the position that we get ourselves into as the bowler is running in to bowl, and any movements that occur just before the bowler has released the ball. 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. In the 1970s that changed. Unlike Foxx and the Babe, Ott was a small man, weighing in at 170 pounds and standing just five foot nine inches tall. If I'm not mistaken, didn't Mark Mcgwire have a pretty weird batting stance also? he started as a pitcher but he converted to the outfield in mid-career. He hunched himself down into a “C” in the batters’ box from the left side, with his head peering over his front shoulder, almost Musial-like. For a while no one kept track of them. When he swung the bat, Ty’s hands were together. When I was growing up in Michigan in the 1970s every kid in my neighborhood was able to do the Pete Rose stance. Seattle Mariners news from FanSided Daily, Brian Orakpo: I’m Going To Rip It Up This Year, Jose Calderon: Mavs Don’t Need A Star Center, Velcro straps on his gloves were pulled and retightened, waggled the bat so hard it danced in front of his helmet lip, MLB Opening Day: 1 reason every team could win the World Series, Blue Jays' Chris Colabello Refuses to Do 8-Pound Mac & Cheese Challenge for $15K, The Cleveland Indians are selling a hot dog with Fruit Loops and mac 'n' cheese (Photo), Mets' Matt Harvey upset with media coverage of bladder infection. Downing had one of the most open batting stances in modern baseball, and it was largely effective, especially for the Angels in the 1980s. As he got older the bat waggle grew in concert with his gold necklaces until both weighed him down. Sadaharu Oh was a physical match for Ott, built almost identical, and also a left-handed hitter. His exploits are legendary. He won his first batting title the following year. 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. 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. Upon witnessing Rose run to first base after a walk, Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford called Pete “Charlie Hustle.”. By 1974 Yaz settled on an odd stance that saw him leaning dramatically forward on his right leg toward the pitcher. A Double-A prospect named Jeff Bagwell, the lone player sent to Houston for Andersen. Ichiro quickly proved he was worthy, winning the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. In 1990 the Red Sox were trying to win the division title and needed bullpen help. Ott employed a high leg kick to initiate the weight shift needed to produce his power. 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. At one point it took nine balls for a batter to get a walk. There were guys hitting over .400 nearly every year before 1900. In many ways it was a knee-jerk reaction by a front office trying to win a World Series. If there’s a baseball bat around it’s hard to resist picking it up and taking a stance. All Galleries . 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. My favorite Batista incarnation was when he was a Montreal Expo. Ideally the batting stance should be a nice and comfortable, balanced position, from which we can play a variety of shots to any delivery that the bowler sends towards us. Dick McAuliffe held the bat very high out in front of and over his head while pointing his lead foot out to the mound. So why didn’t more players try it? Fans found it bizarre but imitated it. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. It was really a sight to see. 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. It took an expansion team desperate for success for Charley to get a shot. Or maybe it was something else. 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. 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. After failing in the first innings of the match, Alam's remarkable 139 in the second innings impressed the Pakistani fans. It took a player thousands of miles from the U.S. to popularize the stance, and when he perfected it, he inspired an entire country to copy his style. The point was for the batter to put the ball in play. 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. 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. 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. What did they have in common? Open stance batting is when the batsman moves his front foot, or shoulder, or both more towards the leg side. The batter no longer had a great advantage and pitchers were becoming sophisticated with their pitching repertoires. It wasn’t solely because they were great hitters and were getting pitched around: these hitters were drawing walks because they had a good eye. 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. This man absolutely smashed batting conventions and rules with his off-the-wall stance in the batter's box. But there’s another reason Bagwell was included on a list of players the Astros could choose from: his peculiar batting stance. Phil Plantier The batting stance has long been the Cadillac of the player’s repertoire. Dude’s a career .255 hitter who hit a whopping 42 home runs in 16-year career. It was a stance made even more famous when Cal Ripken tried it out, but Tettleton was the player who made lazy bat handling famous. Bagwell went on to a Hall of Fame career for the Astros, and the trade remains one of the most lopsided in history. Walks were extremely rare and not encouraged. Craig Counsell may hold the record for the most ugly batting stance in baseball history. Bagwell’s stance has been described as a man sitting in a chair waiting for his dinner. Open Batting Stance. Rose quickly personified that. He reached 3,000 hits and is one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game. Going the other way a long way from home, it's only fitting that the player filling the lowest numerical spot in at also has the lowest stance plants exaggerated crouch almost seems too strange to be real, but it was it didn't stop him from slugging Ninety-one home runs over eight seasons in the majors. It wasn’t until the 1890s that individualized batting stances became common, after the pitcher was allowed to throw from a uniform elevated mound. The weirdness in batting stances has exploded since the age of Wockenfuss and other random oddballs. 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. A walk was considered a mistake by the pitcher. But Counsell is remembered by many for his peculiar batting form. Yet somehow he maintained balance. Noted batting stance imitator Gar Ryness (dubbed “The Batting Stance Guy”) has cataloged Ripken’s stances, even giving them names. Morgan used the tactic to remind himself to keep his hands back. What was different about Henderson’s stance? But can anyone tell you what his batting stance was like? I never figured out how you can hit a ball when you're stirring the bat over your head like Counsell does. But there were also taller guys like Elbie Fletcher, Augie Galan, and Tennessee Roy Cullenbine who consistently ranked near the top in walks. Your email address will not be published. 5. © 2004-2020 BaseballEgg.com, All rights reserved. He worked on hitting from an extreme crouch, leaving very little room for the pitcher to throw a strike. In other words, the toe line of an open stance will be aimed at the left of the target. It was rare for photographers of that era to take photos of players in their normal stances. One historian wrote that Ruth’s follow through left his body “twisted in such contortion that he resembled a human barbers’ pole.”. 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. Before a hitter goes into the “heel down” position, their style is unlikely to have a negative impact on their hitting success. 3) He kept his feet pretty close together, less than a foot apart. But we do have a sprinkling of videos of the Babe in his stance, and it was unique to the great slugger. Weight shift is one thing, but actually lifting the lead leg and holding it while in a batting stance has been unusual. Some of us who played baseball had our own stance, possibly fashioned after our baseball heroes. 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. And Cobb bent over so he could position his head closer to the plate, better to see the inside part of the strike zone. Musial’s stance was so famous, and such a part of his image, that for years after he retired, when he appeared in public, Stan would do it for the fans. He previously worked at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and for Major League Baseball. The A’s tried him for a year until they too got rid of his “crazy ideas.”. Wockenfuss also held the bat out in front of his chest with his fingers extended and wiggling, as if playing a flute. For decades no one paid much attention to bases on balls. Ott was famous for it, but few players followed his suit. Oh hit 868 home runs in his career, setting a world record. Required fields are marked *. Ben Liebman is a writer for FanSided partner BroJackson.com. 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. Rate 5 stars Rate 4 stars Rate 3 stars Rate 2 stars Rate 1 star . (How refreshing). 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. 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 … In order to position yourself properly for an open stance … This one is second most common, and is usually from a result of having some problems with the square stance. How to Set Up Properly. 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. Some people in the Red Sox organization predicted he would never hit for enough power to be successful in Fenway Park. His final swing involved facing the pitcher before haphazardly stepping back to swing. Ruth stood with his feet nearly touching each other and standing at the extreme rear of the batters’ box. When you get your stance set in the batter's box, you'll notice that if … On August 30, the Sox acquired veteran lefthander Larry Andersen from the Astros. Keep Your Eyes on the Pitcher. Of our major sports, baseball is the one with the strongest embrace of quirks and individuality. For a ballplayer the search for a batting stance is a kind of search for athletic identity. He’d step into the box and reach as high as he could on his tippy toes. He just looked eternally bored out there like some MLB Eeyore. Even Jason Kendall hit more dingers than that. 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). So, to answer the question, … The Baseball Egg weekly email newsletter contains news, factoids, trivia, photos, and links to articles you can’t find anywhere else. 08-15-2008, 05:11 AM Drover : Location: Chicago. The open setup adds more movement to the stride and talent to land in the correct position. 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. The open stance shown on the left is good if you find yourself stepping in the "bucket" when a pitch is thrown. Sheffield created the ultimate whiffle ball swing. This method — feet close together, hands very low, tremendous weight shift — clearly worked very well for the Babe.
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