First things first, this iconic image of Ted Williams (on display in Cooperstown) at bat should be imprinted upon our nation’s baseball conscience forever; he is, after all, possibly the last .400 hitter! All coiled-up and ready to spring, that stare alone, must have been an intimidating sight to opposing pitchers.
The chart, which shows Ted’s BA based on pitch location, has a huge, old-school, strike zone that only a baseball-parent sitting in drizzle on a Saturday morning could love. In today’s game, anything above the belt is a ball; imagine the rhubarb if a pitch above the hands were called a strike! In amateur baseball, the zone might start out this big at the lowest levels but as you move up, the zone shrinks down almost to the pro-level. Of course all the umpires in the stands know a good pitch when they see one but how many of you know what the rule book says about the strike zone?
The major league official rules define the zone as follows:
“The Strike Zone is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.”
Now, take another look at Ted and note the lines we’ve drawn on his back. That mid-line perfectly dissects the top ball in the zone – amazingly, the diagram accurately displays the modern strike zone, as defined in 2012. And since it’s a strike if any part of the ball hits the zone, you can pretty much add the width of the ball all the way around. We understand the game of baseball is more exciting when there is lots of action and we could write a book on all the factors affecting how and why balls and strikes are called, but that is for another day…
The best hitters have great plate coverage and can drive any pitch back where it came from and to all fields but even Ted had a trouble zone with the low and away junk. We’re not gonna go so far as to say we could have helped Ted out but knowing that all great hitters work hard at it, we can say that small-ball training with The MaxBP is the most efficient, safe and cost effective way to practice until your hands bleed. We guarantee it (not the hands bleeding part, that’s optional).