Some younger players may not even know who Pete Rose is .. others may identify with him as a bad role model. The plain fact is that Pete Rose is the All-Time leader in hits for Major League Baseball!!
So, putting aside whatever issues haunted him as a human being off the field.. Let’s just take a look at what made him such a fantastic hitter – mechanically.
There is no doubt that he had the proper mental framework required to be a successful hitter. But, that had to be coupled with a physical side to make up the whole package. Pete’s well described philosophy “See the Ball – Hit the Ball!” is a testament to the simplicity with which he approached his at-bats. He did not clutter his brain while in the batter’s box. He simply stepped in.. knew the situation and what was required of him as a hitter.. concentrated on the ball (and only the ball).. then he hit it!
Check out the video at the bottom of this page to see an overhead shot of Pete Rose making perfect contact with a ball on the outer third of the plate. Pay particular attention to the way in which his right (rear) elbow seems to be connected to his right (rear) hip during much of the swing. This is a little taught concept by most coaches, but totally referred to by many Pro players as “being in the slot”. This simple mechanical move allows for greater control of the bat head as it places the top hand in a position to be palm up quicker in the swing. Watch carefully the hands of Pete’s swing and how he uses them to torque the barrel into the ball.
Another reference point to Pete’s mechanically sound approach is his very steady head! We are constantly repeating to young players “Rotate under a steady head!” Now watch Pete’s rotation! Simply perfect! If you really study the video you will see the body is actually pivoting around a stationary point. Can you tell me what that point is? If you said the front foot you are exactly correct! The plant foot is the base point for the rotational motion of the hips, shoulders and hands. Without that firm front side he would not be able to maintain that perfect controlled approach to the ball. Watch the dust come up as the foot firmly pushes against the ground. Remember our philosophy at BABH… Power comes from the ground up! Here’s proof.
Also, pay attention to the interaction of the hands. There is a counter action taking place at the moment just before contact – the bottom hand actually applies a reverse torque to create the speed of the bathead to catch up. Notice also that the hands do not “roll over” until after contact. You can really see this if you study the shadow. Just touch the arrow over and over and watch the swing repeatedly to take this all in. For a slow “frame by frame” look simply place your cursor just slightly in front of the small moving ball and click. The frame will advance and stop. An excellent way to review the swing in detail.
Lastly, watch the rear foot. No squashing here. Hmmmm… remember my comments on Hank Aaron (review the “Coiling and Uncoiling” article on the Bat Speed Development page)? Hank did not “squash the bug”. The All-Time Home Run leader and the All-Time Hit Leader “drag” over their rotated rear foot’s toe.. creating maximum input from the rear hip!! Check it out for yourself.