1. Don’t grip your bat at the very end. Leave, say, an inch or two. Also, leave at least an inch or more space between your hands; that gives you balance and control of bat, and also keeps hands from interfering with each other during the swing.
2. Take position at plate, especially against right-hand pitchers,back of plate, and against a man with a real curve, you can stay on back line of batting box. Now try to hit to right-center. I don’t mean you should place the ball in any one spot, but start now practicing to hit your righthanders to the opposite field. An inside ball from a right-hand pitcher you will naturally pull, say, to left-center.
3. Don’t slug at full speed; learn to meet them firmly, and you will be surprised at the results.
4. Now, to hit as I ask, to right-center or center. You stand away from plate the distance you can see with mind’s eye that you can hit the ball that curves on inside corner, to center. This distance away from plate will allow you to hit the outside ball to right. In other words, you protect the plate both on inside pitches and outside.
5. Remember, the plate is the pitcher’s objective and he has to come to it. I use ‘back of plate’ expression to mean towards the catcher, away from plate to denote distance from plate towards outside of box. Now, use a slightly closed stance, and keep a little more weight on your front foot than back. That gives you balance and won’t pull you away from curves. You are always in position to give maximum drive.
6. Don’t pull a curve ball from a righthander. The ball is revolving away from you. Hit with the revolution and to right field.
7. Keep your left elbow cocked on level with your hands or even higher. Never let the elbow down below the hands, and keep your hands always well away from your body – keep pushing them out, even with your body or back.
8. Keep your back leg straight. Of course, if you put your weight more on the front leg, then the back leg will be straight.
9. If high fast balls inside really bother you: Crouch over from waist and pass them up. Don’t bite, in other words. In crouching, you make the pitcher throw lower, which forces him away from the position that bothers you. But I think with the instructions I have give, you will hit them wherever they pitch.
10. Against a speedy left-hander: Don’t pull. Use the same stance I have given you, and when he throws you his curve, knock him down with it or you will naturally pull it, as the ball is breaking in to you. But against a left-hander of fair speed: Move up in the box, also closer to plate, and pull this style of pitching.
Ty Cobb’s Batting Fundamentals are from a letter that he wrote to rookie outfielder Sam Chapman on May 18, 1938. It first appeared in print in 1947.Ty Cobb had the highest lifetime batting average (.366) of any player in the history of baseball. He won more batting average titles (12) than any other player, and in 1936 he became the first player ever selected to the Hall of Fame. Cobb played 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and retired as a player in 1928 following a two-year stint with the Philadelphia A’s when, at the age of 41, he hit “only” .323, his worst average since 1906. Cobb also was the first ballplayer to star in a movie, Somewhere in Georgia, a drama by Grantland Rice.