Baseball has seen its share of unusual batting stances
Not much can be said to describe the stance of "The Greek God of Walks," but whatever Kevin Youkilis is doing at the plate, it seems to be working for him. Wiggling and squirming in the box while keeping his right hand on the middle portion of the bat, Youk has reached a career mark of 143 home runs and 593 RBI while also drawing over 500 walks in a 9-year career for the Red Sox and White Sox.
Using one of the most pronounced batting stances in Major League Baseball, Craig Counsell has made a name for himself in the process. With his bat extended as far as it can go above his head, his back almost facing the pitcher, and his tip-toes placed in the box, Counsell has seen moderate success in his 16 season career.
Tony Batista's stance was almost comical to opposing teams. It was so drastically open that he was pretty much standing perpendicular to the pitcher and facing him. With both feet pointed towards the pitcher on the rubber, Batista kept his hands high and in front of him and had himself a solid All-Star career.
Ken Griffey Jr.
One of the sweetest stokes in baseball is also one of the most unique, and it is owned by Ken Griffey Jr. He made a name for himself with a bright smile and even brighter future, and his stance is one that many kids practice in their backyard. Standing tall with hands held high and elbow extended out, Junior's quick stroke made the ball explode off his bat and land deep in the outfield seats. Ending his illustrious career in 2010, The Kid's 630 home runs have him ranked sixth on the all-time home run list.
The topic of conversation since his emergence at the top of the Mariners' lineup in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki's at-bat routine is one of the most odd in all of baseball. Stretching a swinging every step until the pitch is thrown, Ichiro's slap-style of hitting has contributed to his unique stance and subsequent swing. Leading the majors in hits seven different times in a span of his 12-year career, there have been many opportunities for fans to witness the Ichiro show.
Considered one of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals to ever play the game, Stan "The Man" Musial made his hunched batting stance all his own. Sometimes contorting so that the back of his jersey was fully visible by the pitcher, Musial's stance made him a household name for a number of years. In a career lasting 22 years, Musial used his unique stance to slap 475 homers, 1,951 RBI and a .331 career batting average.
For 14 seasons fans were witness a spectacle each time Nomar Garciaparra walked to the plate. Going through a similar routine in each of his 6,116 plate appearances, Nomar would strap and unstrap his batting gloves, toe tap with each practice swing, and fidget with his batting helmet. It's quirky, but it's simply Nomar Garciaparra at his finest.
Darryl Strawberry broke into the majors with the New York Mets as a power hitting outfielder that could tear the leather off the ball. His sweet stroke backed up the hype by torching 335 career home runs in a 17-year Major League career. With eyes peering over his shoulder, the Straw Man used a pronounced leg kick and belt-high hands to produce all his power to hit the ball a long way.
The moment Gary Sheffield stepped to the plate you knew he was going to send the ball a long way. Sheff played for 22 years spanning 8 different teams, and each stop along the way he brought his iconic bat swagger with him. Swinging the bat back and forth with incredible force, Sheff belted 509 home runs in his career while batting .292.
Chuck Knoblauch was a scrappy hitter that used his batting stance to his advantage. Keeping his bat head almost parallel to the ground, Knobby used a quick swing that would almost always end up with contact being made. Entering his MLB career as the 1991 Rookie of the Year, Knoblauch accumulated over 1,800 hits and a .289 batting average in 12 seasons.
Rickey Henderson was a character on the diamond, so it only makes sense that his batting stance was unique to only Rickey. Scoring more runs, stealing more bases, and hitting more leadoff home runs than anyone in baseball history, Henderson's pronounced crouch in the batter's box made him seem half his size when up to bat. This caused his strike zone to seem half the size and his walk rate increased.
Spending his entire 15-year career with the Houston Astros, Jeff Bagwell made a name for himself with his powerful swing, but an even more distinctive batting stance. Spread wider than shoulder-length, Bagwell's sweet stroke enabled him to swat 449 home runs, 1,529 RBI and a lifetime .297 batting average.
One of the most iconic stances is the way Jim Thome points his bat at above the pitchers head before each pitch. A la the Babe's called shot, Thome's stance has helped him scorch record books by knocking 611 career home runs and almost 1,700 RBI. Thome's notable 22-year career is bound to be Hall of Fame-worthy, along with his extraordinary batting stance.
Playing for eight different teams in an illustrious 23-year career, Julio Franco was a physical specimen that wielded a heavy bat and a unique stance. With arms high and the bat well above his head point at the pitcher, Franco hit a career .298 batting average, but is seventh on the all-time list with over 300 groundball double plays.
Aaron Rowand must be pretty comfortable at the plate because it looks like he's sitting on a stool out there. Belting 136 homers and 536 RBI is 11 seasons, it looks like all the fidgeting at the plate is working for Rowand as well.