Re: High Finish produces power
> Jude, Jack Mankin. Do you(all) believe the high finish illustrated by Charlie Lau is conducive to homerun hitting?
> Specifically in the case of Alex Rodriguez, does the top hand upward release contibute to helping the carry of the batted ball?
> If in agreement to the above mentioned, would you agree that the top hand release is somewhat or specifically pre determined by the swing plane?
> Lastly, if both hands were left on the bat would the top hand cancel out the extension process for most hitters and result in fewer homeruns?
Mr. Mankin has provided you with a great deal of info., enough I believe to answer your questions? Am I right? I have to confess I am a little curious as to what use you would put this info. In any event, I would like to provide you with additional info.
Based on what I have read and seen on t.v. some of the longest hitters of homeruns held on to the bat with both hands. These included Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx, Cecil Fielder, and Mickey Mantle. In my judgement no one ever matched the towering homeruns of Ruth. It is too bad Ruth didn't share more info. about how he hit homeruns, other than to say that he swung as hard as he could, and gripped the bat as hard as he could (presumably at or near contact). I don't think it would have occurred to any of these players that their follow throughs weren't high enough or long enough so that they felt the necessity to release the bat with the top hand. In fact, Ruth's team mate, Gehrig, who when he released with the top hand, had a fairly low level follow through. Check his homerun stats, keeping in mind that like Ruth he had those 450 something feet to contend with in left and right center at Yankee Stadium.
Unlike some coaches today, T. Williams, if I remember correctly, thought more highly of the top hand as a power hand since it was closer to the point of contact than the bottom hand. It took Williams a long time to accept the idea that it was all right to release the top hand, but only if both hands were on the bat at the point of contact.
Getting back to the notion that a high follow through can produce homeruns I can think back to the 1980's when there were players who bought into the Lau Sr. high follow through concept that they were jokingly referred to as helicopters. Incidently, Epstein has noted at his teaching camps that there are youngsters who have high follow throughs regardless of pitch locations.
At this point I think I should mention Epstein in conection with homerun htting. You asked the question if the top hand were left on the bat wouldn't the lack of extension result in fewer homeruns. I think Mr. Mankin has answered that question to a large extent. But I would point out to you that bat speed isn't everything. Misters Mankin and Lau can tell you how to cover the entire plate with homerun hitting speed. Epstein can tell you how to use your head to increase the chances of hitting homeruns by focusing on using the bat speed for just a part of plate, which in most instances means finessing the outer part of the plate, just looking to get a polite hit. (Epstein has written a book on hitting strategy that goes into this in depth as many of the readers of this posting know.)
Because major leaguers can cover the entire plate with bat speed by releasing with the top hand, many times bad decisions, like a knee jerk, are made to go out after a pitch that should be taken. Some of the ugliest swings show up when a player releases his top hand. It is no accident that players today strike out so much today in their quest for homeruns that have been cheapened.
I need to end this posting so let me leave you with this item as food for thought. It has been my observation that most players in the majors release their top hands for most pitches, if not all. In adult leagues most players hang on to the bat with both hands.
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