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Re: Re: Re: Re: Unfinished Business (Jack Mankin)

Posted by: Jude (wayout1@columbus.rr.com) on Thu Jan 24 01:38:03 2008

Hi again J.M.

THG original posting was Ted Williams video photage. The site he referred to then was,http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwogL.VGtDa8. You needed to click on to Ted Williams Says Goodbye. On the 3rd picture you will see him bareheaded at the plate with the bat at a downward slant behind him. Before going on any further perhaps I should point out that maybe the proper term I should have used was bat lag since bat drag may carry a negative connotation.

In reviewing one of your postings to me the term used in reference to Ferroli was bat lag: "I can say with confidence that if Ted had started his swing with a static bat in the lag position - we would never have heard of him." This as you will recall was in regards to Ferroli's advocating a flat hand position.

I don't mind expanding my view of the bat lag as it pertains to Williams vs. others. As to what significance it will have I don't know since it could be classified as part of a style - but a style that I think may have made him the so-called greatest hitter. In any event, draw your own conclusions. Attach any significance you want, if any at all.

I am fortunate to have taped some t.v. shows with Williams hitting. One such show was a special with Ted as the subject. The host was Al Michael. I got an angle of Ted that I had never seen before. It looked like it was at batting practice. It was a frontal view (somewhat). The shooting looked like it took place from the third base line. The swing verified what I remembered his bat lag looked like, i.e., slanted down. The following is my description of his swing. Ted would set up with his hands low and his lead elbow tucked in close to his body and his bat held vertical. When he took his hands back the bat would flip angle out toward home plate about 70 to 80 degrees - pretty much like Bonds. However, when Bonds brings the bat back toward himself, and it sweeps around his back side, the bat is about a 45 degree angle before the tip of the bat starts pointing and pulling back toward the catcher. Williams on the other hand, when he brought the bat back (raising the low front elbow as he did so - higher than recommended by Epstein's weather vaining 6 inch slot) it looked to be 70 to 80 degrees as the bat started to tip toward the catcher. Being in this fairly upright position I have difficulty thinking of it as having swept around the back side, but it was clear as I have seen on other occasions, when his elbow came down further, the bat lag ultimately slanted downward like the picture you see on the photage. In the meantime his hands would shoot out toward the plate, dispelling any notion that a hitter should try to keep his hands close to the body.

Although it has been indicated that Ted imitated other great players of the time I think, for the most part, he was his own man, even as a youngster. The reason I believe this is because Ted insisted that hitting was a logical process. (He was also stubborn and highly opionated). By this I think he meant that anything he did in his swing had to pass his logic before using it. So I don't think Ted gave it second thought when his bat lag slanted downward. He reasoned, as you well know, that if pitches were angled downward, the hitter had to match that downward plane by swinging upward. So I believe that by having the bat lag slanted downward after coming down, from what started with the bat dropping back from a high 70 to 80 degree angle toward the catcher, Ted, in my view, simplified this aspect of his swing. The result, if you could have seen it, was as if he were swinging an axe. This is how Williams described in his book how the swing should feel. I think logic also dictated to Ted that if most of a pitchers pitches were going to be low then why not start off with the hands low? From what I have read I have the impression that Ted had to work hard to learn to slightly hit down on high pitches. So there was a downside to set up to hit lower pitches, because in his day there was a high strike zone that hitters had to account for, unlike the hitters of today, who often complain when a pitch above the waist is called a strike.


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