The beauty of the bat flip.
It's an art form, and when you combine a bat flip artist's creativity with a momentous swing of the bat, the byproduct is sensational. And it's all magnified exponentially in the postseason -- case in point: Cody Bellinger's tremendous flip on a go-ahead home run late in Game 7 of the 2020 National League Championship Series against the Braves.
Here's a look at the greatest bat flips in baseball history, including where Bellinger's flair for the flip ranks.
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
2015 ALDS Game 5 vs. Rangers
After Joe Carter’s title-winning walk-off homer in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, the Blue Jays went another 21 years without reaching the postseason. Bautista was one of the key figures in the franchise’s revival, helping the club return to the playoffs in 2015, and he delivered one of the biggest home runs in team history in Game 5 of that year’s ALDS vs. the Rangers.
With two runners on and the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Bautista launched a mammoth three-run homer to left-center field that rocked Rogers Centre and put Toronto en route to a series win. “Joey Bats” then became “Joey Batflips,” standing tall at the plate and emphatically flinging his bat aside before starting his home run trot. The Rangers harbored some ill will about the flip, leading to a brawl between the two clubs -- with Bautista and Rougned Odor at the center -- the following May.
2. Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
2015 NLDS Game 3 vs. Dodgers
Cespedes was outstanding for the Mets after being acquired at the 2015 Trade Deadline, helping New York win the National League East and make it all the way to the World Series. Fittingly, the slugger made his presence known in the first ever playoff game at Citi Field -- Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS vs. the Dodgers.
With New York already leading, 7-3, in the fourth inning, Cespedes hammered a two-out, three-run blast that blew the game open and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Cespedes punctuated the home run with a majestic flip of the bat as he left the box.
3. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
2020 NL Wild Card Series Game 2 vs. Cardinals
This flip was borne of more than sheer joyous excitement for launching a second home run to pad San Diego's lead -- though that was certainly a large part of it. This was the cherry on top for the biggest game of Tatis' young and spectacular career. The best-of-three series did not start out well for the 21-year-old shortstop -- he was 1-for-6 with three strikeouts and had left 10 men on base prior to the at-bat in which he hit a three-run homer to get the Padres, who were on the doorstep of elimination, back into the game against St. Louis.
And then came the swing that produced one of the great bat flips of all-time: With a full count and two outs in the seventh inning, Tatis connected on a 96.4 mph fastball from Cardinals reliever Daniel Ponce de Leon and drove it over the right-field wall for a two-run homer. The home run turned a 7-6 Padres lead into a 9-6 lead, which turned out to be critical given that St. Louis scored three more times in the 11-9 San Diego victory. The Tatis flip was immediately compared to Bautista's iconic flip from 2015, and for good reason.
4. Tom Lawless, Cardinals
1987 World Series Game 4 vs. Twins
Lawless had one career home run when he came to the plate in the fourth inning of 1987 World Series Game 4 vs. the Twins, but he looked like a bat-flipping veteran after hitting a tie-breaking three-run homer to left field off left-hander Frank Viola.
As the Busch Stadium crowd went bonkers, Lawless admired his long ball and started up the first-base line with his bat still in hand before tossing it high into the air, end over end.
5. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
2007 ALDS Game 2 vs. Angels
Three years after David Ortiz hit a walk-off homer over the Green Monster to finish a Red Sox sweep in the ALDS vs. the Angels, Manny Ramirez put Boston on the brink of another ALDS sweep with one of his own. Same opponent, same park, nearly the same location.
In one continuous motion, Ramirez launched a rocket into the Boston night off Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, let the bat fly off his backswing and raised his hands in celebration, remaining at home plate momentarily to watch the ball fly out of the park.
6. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2020 NLCS Game 7 vs. Braves
With the Dodgers and Braves tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the seventh inning and the NL pennant hanging in the balance, Bellinger absolutely crushed a Chris Martin fastball over the wall in right field to give Los Angeles the late 4-3 lead at Globe Life Field. He knew the ball was gone off the bat, and immediately flipped the bat out in front of home plate as a reverse of his follow-through. He then completed the move by strutting toward first base while watching his blast sail into the right-field seats, 400 feet away. It was a masterpiece of a bat flip in the brightest of spotlights.
7. Pete Alonso, Mets
May 7, 2019 at Padres
One day after Padres rookie right-hander Chris Paddock questioned Alonso's credentials as the National League Rookie of the Month for April, Alonso answered with a mammoth home run in the ninth inning of a tie game.
Alonso crushed a 2-2 fastball from Padres reliever Adam Warren, and it sailed a projected 449 feet from home plate at 114.7 mph, striking near the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in left field. As he began his home-run trot, he let loose with his bat behind him, narrowly missing home-plate umpire Bill Miller.
8. Bryce Harper, Phillies
April 2, 2019 at Nationals
Back in Washington one month after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with the rival Phillies, Harper was greeted with boos and struck out against Nats ace Max Scherzer in each of his first two at-bats. But the outfielder got the last laugh in the eighth inning, going yard and following up his colossal blast with a bat flip that had many buzzing well after the game.
9. Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets
Sept. 22, 2016 vs. Phillies
Cabrera broke out the rarely seen two-handed bat flip after his walk-off, three-run homer, which came with the Mets in the thick of a heated NL Wild Card race and gave New York a 9-8 win in 11 innings.
10. Carlos Delgado, Blue Jays
Sept. 25, 2003 vs. Devil Rays
Delgado was locked in against Tampa Bay on this day, becoming the 15th player in Major League history to crush four homers in a single game. He put the exclamation point on his performance with an overhand bat flip toward Toronto’s dugout after home run No. 4.
Best of the rest
Narrowing down baseball's top bat flips to 10 was extremely difficult, as there is an endless supply of strong candidates. Here are some more memorable bat-flip moments.
Willson Contreras, Cubs
Sept. 25, 2020 at White Sox
The Cubs' offense was stuck in a rut, but Contreras took matters into his own hands when he crushed a 99 mph fastball from White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease and deposited it over the wall in right field for a three-run homer in the third inning. The smash was followed by a majestic bat flip -- as in, really majestic. The bat was sent so high in the air, that on a replay of the baseball sailing over the wall at Guaranteed Rate Field, the bat looked as though it was higher in the air than the baseball from the camera's vantage point.
Tim Anderson, White Sox
April 17, 2019 vs. Royals
Anderson is one of the most fun players to watch in baseball because he plays with so much emotion. His epic bat flip -- more like a bat spike -- and fired-up reaction after launching a home run off the Royals' Brad Keller was the talk of baseball. Watch >
Odubel Herrera, Phillies
May 25, 2016 at Tigers
Herrera showed a willingness to flip his bat on homers, singles and sac flies alike. This sky-high flip on a homer against the Tigers in 2016 is perhaps his greatest masterpiece. Watch >
Todd Frazier, Reds
June 17, 2015 vs. Tigers
How do you make a walk-off grand slam in the 13th inning even better? By unleashing an incredible bat flip to celebrate it. Frazier was just warming up, as less than a month later, he would become the first player ever to win the Home Run Derby on his home field. Watch >
David Ortiz, Red Sox
July 27, 2014 at Rays
Ortiz played with undeniable swagger, and his bat flips were no exception. Want evidence? Check out his underhand toss after slugging a monster home run off Chris Archer in 2014. Watch >
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
May 9, 2014 vs. Giants
Puig is another well-known bat flipper, and he drew the ire of fiery Giants hurler Madison Bumgarner for his nonchalant bat toss and slow home run trot after taking the left-hander deep in May 2014. Watch >
Starling Marte, Pirates
May 2, 2014 vs. Blue Jays
You don’t see too many bat flips into fair territory, but Marte flung his bat forward almost immediately after making contact on his walk-off homer vs. the Blue Jays. Watch >
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Aug. 28, 2009 vs. Nationals
After hitting such a colossal blast for a walk-off homer vs. the Nats, Pujols wasn’t about to finesse his bat flip. “The Machine” tossed his bat away with authority before beginning his victory lap. Watch >
Barry Bonds, Giants
Oct. 4, 2001 at Astros
A history-making moment required an epic bat flip to match, and Bonds went for the baseball equivalent of a mic drop after tying Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record with his 70th of the year. Watch >
Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MannyOnMLB.