Anybody who has picked up a baseball bat has heard about the fundamentals of proper hitting. Keep your back elbow up, slightly bend the knees, don’t let your hands drift, swing level—all that good stuff.
There have been some Yankees who would not make it onto the instructional video of Little League coaches, yet they were able to make their way into the big leagues despite their unorthodox hitting approach. Let’s look back and chuckle at some of the most memorable (and weirdest) batting stances in Yankee history.
Most fans remember this Yankee outfielder for his part in Bucky Dent’s heroics during the 1978 one-game playoff against the Red Sox. He also had a very weird batting stance. Rivers would keep his legs relatively straight while hovering his entire upper body over home plate, basically parallel to the ground.
With the way Rivers positioned himself at the plate, he could be plunked in the head and you could make the argument that the pitch was a strike. Despite his hunched-over batting stance that made him look like he suffered from chronic back pain, “Mick the Quick” could really fly on the bases.
Seriously, how strong were this guy’s wrists?!
Sheffield would violently sway his bat back and forth like he was trying to fling a piece of gum off of it. His swing was equally violent and powerful, which led to some mammoth home runs during his time in pinstripes. It also led to some scary moments jumping away from vicious foul line drives for Luis Sojo, who eventually took to standing far away from the third base coach’s box.
Sheffield finished with 509 home runs for his career, though his quest for the Hall of Fame has been a difficult one.
Yes, this man was once a Yankee. His tenure in pinstripes was so short and forgetful that it might disqualify him from this list, but with a batting stance like this, I just could not leave him off.
Youkilis would hold the bat over his head and point the bat head almost directly at the pitcher, while slowly moving his right hand down the handle of the bat as the pitcher began his windup. Maybe he was so used to walking and taking pitches that he naturally didn’t want to grip the bat and swing away.
Speaking of short-tenured Yankees with weird batting stances, here is one of the best hitters in baseball history who had a minimal impact on the Yankees, but a major impact on the game of baseball. The speedy Ichiro was always so anxious to run that he would almost be completely out of the batter’s box by the time he completed his swing.
Ah, the man who destroyed Mark Wohlers’ career and sparked a dynasty. Leyritz is the owner of arguably the most important home run in Yankee history, and boy did he look weird doing it.
The former Yankee catcher would keep his front leg locked and straight while significantly bending his back leg. His hands, close to his face like he was speaking on a telephone, would steadily twirl his bat around as he awaited the pitch. It is hard to imagine anybody hitting a home run with that stance, but thank the baseball gods that he did.
Here is the only guy in the baseball world who can challenge Pablo Sanchez for the smallest strike zone ever (Eddie Gaedel notwithstanding). Already a relatively short man, Knoblauch would crouch low in the batter’s box while holding his bat flat behind his head and parallel to the ground. His bat was so flat and straight back that umpires probably could have kissed the top of his bat from where they were positioned.
It is hard to believe Knoblauch suffered throwing issues later in his career and not hitting ones, especially with a stance like this.
I’m sorry, I know this is a Yankees’ blog, but I can’t talk about weird batting stances without mentioning Tony Batista. There are no words to describe this madness in the batter’s box...