The Best Batting Stances/Pre-Batting Rituals in Baseball

I am a big baseball fan and nothing is better than seeing a classic pre- at bat ritual or a strange, quirky batting stance. There are many famous ones such as Nomar, Frank Thomas and many others. But I want to break them down and rank the best ones of all time.

Pre-Batting Rituals

1) Nomar Garciaparra

Nomar Garciaparra drove fans crazy with his unstrapping and re-strapping of gloves, his toe-tapping with each swing, and touching the brim of the helmet. It has been copied and reenacted by millions and millions of kids playing wiffleball, baseball or just standing with a bat. Nomar’s pre- at bat ritual has become a fixture in baseball history.

2) Frank Thomas

The “Big Hurt” was known for putting a walloping on the ball when he hit it and there is a great reason for that. In the on-deck circle, Thomas used to swing an iron pipe rather than the usual, placing a “donut” on the bat. He would take 10-15 swings with the pipe and then go over to grab his bat. This has to be one of the funniest pre-batting rituals there is.

3) Ichiro Suzuki

Everybody is familiar with the way Ichiro points his bat towards the pitcher and adjusts his sleeve. It became an epidemic with kids while playing wiffleball, just like Nomar. And as we all know Ichiro then set up like Happy Gilmore and got a running start towards the ball. Just as everyone watched him slap it down the 3rd base line.

4) Wade Boggs

Before batting, Boggs would scrawl the Hebrew symbol \o7chai\f7 into the dirt, even though he isn’t Jewish. I find this pretty interesting because Boggs never explained why he did it. Many players are known for drawing a Cross into the dirt, but for Boggs to scrawl a Hebrew symbol was peculiar. Boggs always had crazy pre-game rituals but thats another story.

Batting Stances

1) Tony Batista

He was known for what was without question the most open batting stance in Major League history. At one point during his career, Batista would line up with both his feet facing the pitcher, and the pitcher could clearly see the letters on Batista’s chest. He placed the bat in front of his face and held as if he were about to fight Darth Vader with a light saber.

2) Craig Counsell

If you don’t measure the bat, Craig Counsell is listed at a generous six feet tall. Throw in the bat on this ridiculous stance, and he’s well over nine feet tall. He stood about as straight as you could without bending over backwards and I find it amazing he never pulled an muscle doing it. He would bring his bat down from the “nosebleed” seats to swing and he was always a solid hitter.

3) Jeff Bagwell

If Jeff Bagwell were about 10 fee tall, then you could say that his feet were about shoulder-width apart. And since he’s not, it makes him look quite strange. Again, another stance where it is truly amazing that he never pulled any muscle in his leg. Above his waist he has a ver normal stance, just placing the bat on his shoulder, but as you look below it gets quite wild.

4) Kevin Youkilis

What isn’t weird about this stance. You can pinpoint about 5 or 6 things that just seem either uncomfortable or just flat out strange. It looks almost as if Youk is playing some previously unidentified type of wooden instrument. His right hand and fingers loosely hold onto the barrel of the bat, as if playing a harp, and work their way down to meet his left hand as he starts his swing.

5) Gary Sheffield

It is hard to find a picture that does justice to a stance like Sheffield’s. Although, Sheff’s stance is pretty normal below the waist, north of the border was a completely different story. It amazed me that he never fired the bat at the pitcher on accident because he was slinging that bat around like a feather. I never understood what the reason for this was but yet another example of a stance that is portrayed on baseball diamonds all over the world.