Many hitters in the league have powerful uppercut swings designed to hit 40-plus home runs per season, but what 10 hitters have the kind of smooth, level cut that would make them untapped tennis talents?
We’ll begin with a couple honorable mentions, albeit players that are no longer active, and then we'll begin the countdown from No. 10 to No. 1 in the best MLB swings that could translate to Wimbledon Success.
So, which baseball players may have been tearing up a clay court or grass court instead of a diamond or stadium?
And which guys could have excelled in both tennis and America’s Pastime?
I know both Ted Williams and Jeff Bagwell hung up their cleats and jerseys a long time ago, but both of those guys could have easily been awesome tennis players.
Williams, and his amazing and fluid swing, would have been an absolute winner in Wimbledon.
And Bagwell’s stance (which could easily have been practiced while sitting on the toilet) was amazingly smooth considering the way he batted.
But both would have been A-plus players with a racket, and I have no doubt that both would have caused some major noise if they had been playing in Wimbledon tourneys.
A-Rod has to be on this list, regardless of the skeletons in his closet.
Rodriguez has an incredibly smooth swing in the majors, and there’s no doubt that he could be successful on a tennis court as well.
It actually wouldn’t surprise me one bit if A-Rod picked up a racket every once in a while and blasted balls with ease.
But one thing is certain: A-Rod would be a damn good tennis player, and his swing could EASILY transpire into Wimbledon success.
Good ole Manny Ramirez; or Manny being Manny as they like to say.
Once again, though—and regardless of a not-so-picture-perfect-past, Ramirez deserves to be on this top 10 list of MLB players with swings that could translate to Wimbledon success.
Ramirez has a very well-defined swing, and he hits base hits and homers with ease.
Could Manny have made a good tennis player?
Absolutely, but I’m sure he’s happier in baseball.
There would be no Manny Land in Wimbledon, at least I don’t think there would be…
Tell me I am wrong for putting Alfonso Soriano on this list, and I can give you numerous reasons as to why he should be at No. 8.
Soriano has to have one of the sweetest swings in the majors, and it’s fairly predictable to say he would be extremely successful on a tennis court as well.
Just imagine a racket in his hand instead of a piece of lumber, and think about the damage he could cause in Wimbledon.
Next match: Roger Federer vs. Alfonso Soriano…
This guy’s swing is super sweet.
Joe Mauer makes America’s Pastime look as simple as tee-ball.
And his swing is nearly picture perfect as we get closer and closer to the top five spots on this list.
Mauer could easily mash the snot out of tennis balls, and I could foresee him effortlessly being very successful in Wimbledon action.
Would you want to go up against Mauer in a singles match at Wimbledon?
I know I wouldn’t, and I’m sure he’d probably give a handful of tennis’ most awesome athletes a scare with a racket.
I know Nomar Garciaparra is not an active player in the majors, but I absolutely cannot leave him off this list—I've automatically given him a bid to the big dance with a No. 6 seed.
Garciaparra has to have one of the sweetest swings to ever appear in America’s Pastime.
And there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he could have been a very successful tennis player.
In addition, he is one of only 13 MLB players to knock two grand slams in a single game—and he’s the only one to do so at home.
Who’s ready for a Wimbledon match with Garciaparra?
Josh Hamilton has been an absolute stud at the plate since donning a Texas Rangers uniform.
And he’s got one of the best swings in baseball by far.
A two-time All-Star as well as a 2008 Silver Slugger winner, I’d love to see Hamilton roughing up opponents with a tennis racket.
Could Hamilton be as successful in Wimbledon as he is in the majors?
That’s a tough call, but there’s no doubt he could make some major noise in tennis.
With that type of swing, how could you deny it?
I know I won’t…
I still remember being a kid and collecting cards, and I’ll never forget getting a signed Chipper Jones card back in the early 90’s and wondering: Who the heck is Chipper Jones?
If I’d only known the forever Atlanta Brave would be a future MLB star.
(As a side note, I’m pretty sure I still have that signed Chipper baseball card somewhere; I’ll have to check though).
Jones has to be a no-doubter top five nod in the category of sweet and level swings.
He does so with such ease that it honestly looks simple; and Major League Baseball is FAR from easy.
Give Jones a tennis racket, and watch the guy destroy opponents with simplicity in Wimbledon.
I’d love to see it…
I know John Olerud is another FORMER major leaguer, but there’s no way I couldn’t include him in the top three on this list.
Check out the numerous pictures of him on a Google search and tell me when you come across a photo of Olerud with an uneven swing.
The guy was also a stud defensively, winning three Gold Glove awards who played for five teams—including both the New York Yankees (2004) and the Boston Red Sox (2005) before making an official retirement announcement on December 6, 2005.
But could Olerud have been a star in Wimbledon with his swing?
Personally, I’d say yes—absolutely.
The funny thing is that both B.J. Upton and his brother, Justin, have incredible swings in Major League Baseball.
But B.J. Upton’s is above and beyond excellent.
Especially when talking about smooth, level swings in the majors.
Currently playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, Upton hit for the cycle on October 2, 2009.
And I am 100 percent certain that Upton would be a star in Wimbledon action as well.
Just give the guy a tennis racket and let him go to town.
The extraordinary eye-hand coordination and super strong swing are already picture perfect, so it wouldn’t take much molding to make Upton a super stud in Wimbledon.
I personally can’t think of a sweeter, more level swing in Major League Baseball than the one and only Ken Griffey, Jr.
And I know he’s retired, but can anyone think of a sweeter swing that Griffey Junior's?
A star at both the plate and in the field of play, Griffey honestly made the game of baseball look like elementary school.
And his swing? Superb.
Wimbledon success? No doubt.
In fact, I bet Griffey could still play some tennis.
My little brother’s favorite baseball player growing up as kids, I can honestly say without a doubt that Griffey Junior has the sweetest swing ever in America’s Pastime.
The No. 1 Wimbledon-to-be winner is a no-brainer in my opinion.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org