There’s arguable no better feeling in the world (we’re talking PG/PG-13 feelings here) than making taking your best cut and making perfect contact with a baseball. From the crack of the bat to the pose in the batter’s box to watching that tiny white ball with red seams carry through the air and over the fence, it’s almost hypnotic. Tonight, as baseball fans gather in the stands or in front of muted TV sets (no sounds = no Chris Berman back-back-back-back-back-back-GONE!) we’ll watch as some of the games “greatest home run hitters” compete for the title of Home Run Derby Champion.
In honor of one of the greatest extra-curricular spectacles in all of sports, here are my top 5 sweetest swings that have come and gone.
5. Ken Griffey Jr.
Every baseball fan, young and old, has that certain swing that they like to emulate when they’re holding a bat. For me, even though I stand on the opposite side of home plate, Griffey Jr. was that man. Hands in close, back elbow up, and a swing that was as pure as they come. Despite his lack of a “power stance” (he would practically stand straight up), Griffey could put a real beating on a baseball, as he showed when he crushed a homer in the 1993 Home Run Derby that nailed the side of the warehouse at Camden Yards.
4. Michael Jack Schmidt
Schmidt, the greatest home run hitter in Philadelphia Phillies history, was a man who wasn’t built like a home run hitter, but who had the mechanics down. His 548 home runs rank 15th in baseball—9th or 8th if you take out the juicers/pencil in your asterisks. It didn’t matter where the ball was in the strike zone, Schmidt’s swing and long arms allowed him to crush them from any and everywhere.
3. Hank Aaron
He’s still the all-time leader in home runs in my book, and his swing was as picture-perfect as any. 755 is such a mystical number and one that will stand for a long long time.
2. Ted Williams
Not many… Hell I don’t think anyone can lay claim to the feat that Ted Williams pulled off. The long-time Red Sox great capped off his 19-year career with a home run in his final at bat. He hit a career walk-off. Let me say it one last time… His 521st home run (good for 18th-ish all-time) came in his last at bat in Major League Baseball. Incredible.
1. Babe Ruth
The original home run king, no one have ever owned the game of baseball the way Babe Ruth did during his heyday. In his 22 years he went over 40 homers on 10 different occasions, but he wasn’t just a power hitter. His career .342 batting average is in the top-10 all time; his career-.474 on-base percentage is second to only Ted Williams; and his 5,793 total bases are 6th (5th minus Bonds) behind names like Musial, Aaron, Mays, and Cobb.
Who do you have on your Sweetest Swings list?