Ranking the Most Epic Bat Flips in MLB History

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

Ranking the Most Epic Bat Flips in MLB History

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    If you're worried about respecting the game and following MLB's unwritten rules, this entertainment is not for you. If you are a card-carrying member of #TeamBatFlip, get ready for a joyous trip down memory lane.

    We're about to launch some bats.

    Two quick guidelines for the ranking: No bat drop was considered. The bat must have been flipped/thrown/tossed in some emphatic way, not simply released.

    The other factor is the context of the situation. For example, a playoff game is objectively more impactful. Still, a regular-season game can still offer a truly epic bat flip. We're celebrating the best.

10. Adeiny Hechavarria, Atlanta Braves

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    For someone with 37 career home runs, Adeiny Hechavarria's homer-to-epic-flip ratio is nothing short of sensational. Most impressively, the shortstop has a signature style that travels.

    There's his walk-off shot in 2015 with the Miami Marlins. A two-run blast in 2017 on the Tampa Bay Rays. A three-run homer in 2019 for the New York Mets. After joining the Atlanta Braves later in 2019, he pulled off three amazing flips.

    On every one of them, Hechavarria realizes he's hit a homer and tosses the bat from behind his shoulders.

    The best example happened in August 2019 against the Marlins after he laced a rocket to left field.

    "I've got to be honest: I think it was the best bat flip I've ever seen," teammate and fellow bat-flipper Ronald Acuna Jr. said.

9. Hung-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Pitchers are usually the people most upset at a bat toss. Back in 2007, though, left-hander Hung-Chih Kuo turned the tables.

    Or, rather, flipped them.

    Kuo smashed the first and only homer of his seven-year career during a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets. John Maine has the unfortunate honor of being the pitcher who surrendered the big fly.

    To make the day even better for Kuo, he allowed one run in seven innings of work to pick up his second career MLB win.

8. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

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    Casually crushed.

    That's the most succinct way to describe David Ortiz's three-run homer against Tampa Bay in 2014. "Big Papi" broke a scoreless tie on this pitch, and he knew it immediately.

    Ortiz seamlessly went from holding his swing to whipping his bat toward the Boston Red Sox dugout. The homer would hold up as Boston's only runs in a 3-2 victory and served as the motivation for Rays pitcher Chris Archer to take a dig at Ortiz.

    The veteran was unfazed, though.

    "Maybe they get too sensitive about things, just leave it like that," Ortiz said.

7. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

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    Forget flips. The next trend should be bat spears.

    Tim Anderson unveiled a new celebration during an otherwise forgettable April 2019 contest between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Anderson ripped a two-run homer and turned his bat into a javelin.

    Kansas City responded in the eye-rolling fashion of hitting Anderson in his next plate appearance. That resulted in suspensions for both Anderson and Royals pitcher Brad Keller.

    "I'm going to continue to be me and keep having fun," Anderson said. "Our fans, they pay their hard-earned money to come to the ballpark to see a show. So why don't I give them one?"

6. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

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    After the 2018 season, Bryce Harper left the Washington Nationals for $330 million and the Philadelphia Phillies. And in the first week of the 2019 season, the Phillies traveled to Washington.

    Harper made his homecoming in style.

    During the eighth inning, Harper effectively sealed the win. He uncorked a 458-foot blast to give the Phillies an 8-2 lead, and the ensuing bat flip included four end-over-end rotations.

    "It's the emotion of the game," Harper said. "That's it. That's about it."

5. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Although the Red Sox went on to mount a furious comeback in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, Yasiel Puig sent Dodgers fans into a frenzy on this three-run homer.

    Trailing 2-1 in the series, Los Angeles needed a win. Puig offered a little breathing room and deservedly celebrated the swing.

    Perhaps best of all, Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez fired his glove into the ground as Puig, arms raised, began his trot.

4. Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets

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    Asdrubal Cabrera wasted little time celebrating a walk-off homer.

    Late in the 2016 season, the Mets found themselves in a tight race for the postseason. They needed every victory possible, especially against a sub-.500 Phillies team.

    Jose Reyes hit a game-tying two-run shot in the ninth inning, and Cabrera provided some heroics in the 11th. With the Mets behind 8-6, he smashed a hanging breaking ball with two runners on and flipped the bat with both hands, sending it spinning toward his teammates.

    The next season, Philadelphia threw at Cabrera's head in, uh, retaliation? The following year, the Phillies traded for him.

    Sometimes, baseball is weird.

3. Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

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    Midway through the 2015 season, the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. The deadline acquisition paid off in a major way during Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

    Cespedes obliterated this 2-2 pitch from Alex Wood, sending the ball 431 feet and tossing the bat approximately 15 feet up. The Mets surged ahead 10-3, later finished off a 13-7 win and took a 2-1 advantage in the series.

    The Mets would eventually win their first NL pennant in 15 years before falling to the Royals in the World Series.

2. Tom Lawless, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Frankly, it's surprising the universe didn't spontaneously combust when St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tom Lawless adored a home run and launched his bat inβ€”gasp!β€”1987.

    During Game 4 of that season's World Series, he belted a three-run shot to give St. Louis a 4-1 advantage.

    And walked. And stared. And just chucked the bat.

    Lawless finished his eight-year career with a combined total of three home runs in the regular season and playoffs. But he only needed one to become a legend.

1. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

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    During the decisive Game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series, the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays stood at three runs apiece in the bottom of the seventh.

    Off the bat, everybody in the building knew Jose Bautista had sent this baseball into a different dimension, giving Toronto a 6-3 lead.

    Bautista stood motionless for a moment, glancing at Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson before unleashing a ferocious left-handed throw.

    "There was no script," Bautista later wrote for the Players' Tribune. "I didn't plan it. It just happened."