There was a time in the game of baseball when unique approaches to the game led to all sorts of crazy moves, maneuvers and mechanics. Think Juan Marichal on the mound. Think Darryl Strawberry's front leg flying.
While the sport's current crop of players still includes its share of weirdness, it seems as though consistency and conformity are slowly taking over.
Today, with online videos, 24-hour-a-day media coverage and state-of-the-art training programs, there seem to be fewer and fewer unique batting stances. I can't think of a single player who aligns himself with his back to the pitcher like Stan Musial did. That wacky stance, which involved Stan the Man twisting his head and staring at the mound over his shoulder, was later adopted in a less extreme version by the Hit Dog, Mo Vaughn.
Then there was Mickey Tettleton, who stood stock-still and held the bat straight away from his body like a fishing rod. Hardly the soundest method for handling a 90 mile per hour projectile.
There was Tony Batista, whose stance was so open it looked like he was trying to get a head start out of the batter's box—and run to third base.
There was Rickey Henderson, whose exaggerated crouch explains his low K rate with the simple truth that it was tough to fit three whole strikes into his zone.
There was Julio Franco with his bat hanging over his helmet, and there was Ruben Sierra with a leg kick so high it pulled other people's hamstrings.
There was Jeff Bagwell, who evidently arrived at the plate riding the world's fattest horse.
There was Gary Sheffield, who vibrated as though someone had dumped live eels down his pants. Electric eels.
And there was my personal favorite, Blue Jays third baseman Garth Iorg. Iorg leaned so far over his own back leg that he looked like a human Barcalounger.
But fear not, because in these modern times there are still a handful of brave souls who aren't afraid to do things the wrong way. Forget those instructional videos by back-to-back-to-back AAU champion Tom Emanski. The players on this list aren't as interested in looking like hitters as they are in being hitters.
Here are some of the craziest hitting mechanics found among active major leaguers, led by perhaps the ugliest swing in baseball history.