The 11 Greatest Left-Handed Swings of All Time

Michael Pizzutillo@@Mike_PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIJanuary 20, 2013

The 11 Greatest Left-Handed Swings of All Time

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    Baseball has always been a lefty's sport—especially in the batter's box. Their swings are pure to the game and necessary in the lineup. 

    It's no surprise that 15 of the top 20 career batting average leaders were left-handed (according to Baseball Reference).

    To honor the late, great Stan Musial, here are videos of the 11 best lefty swingers to play the game.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Gonzalez

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    Adrian Gonzalez has a powerful yet smooth swing. He is also one of the game's best at hitting the ball to the opposite field.

    According to, Gonzalez possesses a .628 slugging percentage against fastballs located on the outer half of the plate.

    He is currently one of the league's most potent hitters, and being back in the NL should play to his advantage.

11. Wade Boggs

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    Wade Boggs was the perfect baseball player in his era. He played the game hard on both sides of the plate and was loved by fans in Boston for his blue-collar attitude and picture-perfect swing.

    Boggs went on to tally 3,010 hits in his career and also averaged a measly 41 strikeouts per season (per Baseball Reference).

10. Ichiro Suzuki

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    Ichiro Suzuki may have the most unorthodox swing on this list, but he has been a terror for opposing pitchers since entering the Majors.

    From 2001-2010, Ichiro led the AL in hits seven out of 10 times. The other three, he finished second. He possesses a career batting average of .322 (per Baseball Reference)

    Suzuki is a master of his craft and will forever leave his mark in the game.

9. Lou Gehrig

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    Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Horse," was one of the most admired and heroic players in baseball. Playing 17 seasons with the magical New York Yankees, he was one of many legends.

    Gehrig could do it all, but he could especially hit. He totaled a career .340 batting average (16th all time) and 493 home runs (26th all time).

    He was a integral part of the Yankees' success and was one of the best to sport the pinstripes.

8. Tony Gwynn

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    Tony Gwynn was a hitting machine. In 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, only once did he bat under .300. That season happened to be his first in the majors, in which he hit a modest .289 (per Baseball Reference).

    Gwynn had incredible work ethic and was determined to be on the game's best—and he achieved just that.

    He would end with a .338 career batting average and at 19th on the all-time hit list with a total of 3,141 hits (per Baseball Reference).

7. Barry Bonds

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    Barry Bonds. Love him or hate him, the man could play the game.

    Yes, he cheated and should be punished for lies, but no one can deny the talent. Bonds had one of the sweetest and most powerful sings in the bigs. 

    His legacy will forever be tainted, but this slugger could hit a baseball—with or without steroids.

6. Mickey Mantle

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    Mickey Mantle was a freak of nature. He would probably land on the "best right-handed swings of all time" list as well. That's how good he was.

    Mantle's wide stance and lightning fast hands allowed him to connect with pitches over and over again. He totaled 536 career home runs (16th all time) with a career batting average of .298.

    The list of his accomplishments and awards would go on for days, and there is no doubt that "Mick" had one of the best swings of all time.

5. Stan Musial

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    Stan "The Man" Musial was as natural a hitter to ever grace the field. 

    He could hit for power or average at any given situation.

    Musial currently ranks second in career total bases (per Baseball Reference) and is third on the all-time doubles list. 

    Musial once stated, "I was able to be a great hitter because I learned to hit to the opposite field at an early age." 

    According to the Associated Press (via ABC News), Musial passed away yesterday at the age of 92. But he left a legacy in St. Louis and throughout baseball.

4. Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Ken Griffey Jr.'s swing was magical—the perfect combination of power, precision and timing. 

    Junior's level bat driving through the ball, matched by his exaggerated, long follow-through, was ugly for pitchers but a thing of beauty for fans. 

    He may not possess an all-time high batting average, though his BA was still very good at .284 (per Baseball Reference), but he did amass 630 home runs—good for sixth all time.

    Griffey battled through injuries once traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds, but was still able to post incredible numbers.

    He will go down as possessing one of the most eloquent and perfect lefty swings in baseball's history.

3. Ty Cobb

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    Ty Cobb could probably hit better than half the major league hitters today...from his grave. One of the first greats to play the game, Cobb is still considered one of the best hitters of all time.

    He played the game with incredible passion and fire, and the result was historic.

    Cobb holds the best career batting average at .366 (per Baseball Reference). The next closest is Roger Hornsby at .358. He is also second in total hits, fourth in doubles and second in triples. 

    For Cobb, hitting and playing the game were everything, and he was damn good at it.

2. Babe Ruth

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    The "Sultan of Swat," Babe Ruth is the most popular baseball player of all time. It's almost mythical the way people describe his play and attitude.

    Ruth was extremely powerful and unlike anything the league had seen. He is the curse of Boston and the hero of New York.

    During his years with the Yankees, "The Great Bambino" was the greatest icon in the sport.

    Ruth's stats are also equally as impressive: He is sixth all time in total bases, third in home runs and 10th in batting average.

    Ruth was a monster at the plate and once said, "I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can."

    This is exactly how Babe played the game.

1. Ted Williams

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    Ted Williams was the definition of left-handed swings. He understood the mental and physical aspect of approaching the plate and was determined to do his job.

    Williams once said, "There's only one way to become a hitter. Go up to the plate and get mad. Get mad at yourself and get mad at the pitcher." He must have been pretty angry.

    Teddy Ballgame went on to a career .344 batting average (eighth all time) and 521 homers (18th all time), per Baseball Reference. He also missed three seasons—in his prime—to serve in the military.

    Today's students of the game can still learn from Williams' approach and technique. He has the best lefty swings of all time.