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January 11, 1973: Designated Hitter Rule Adopted By American League

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    January 11, 1973: Designated Hitter Rule Adopted By American League

    American League adopts designated hitter rule
    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-...ed-hitter-rule
    Excerpts from the history.com article:


    "On January 11, 1973, the owners of America’s 24 major league baseball teams vote to allow teams in the American League to use a “designated pinch-hitter” who could bat for the pitcher while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game."

    "The idea of adding a player to the baseball lineup to bat for the pitcher had been suggested as early as 1906 by revered manager Connie Mack. In 1928, John Heydler, president of the National League, revived the issue, but the rule was rejected by the AL management."

    "By the early 1970s, Charlie Finley, the colorful owner of the Oakland A’s, had become the designated hitter rule’s most outspoken advocate, arguing that a pinch-hitter to replace the pitcher—a player who usually batted poorly, exceptions like the legendary Babe Ruth notwithstanding–would add the extra offensive punch that baseball needed to draw more fans."

    "At first, the designated hitter rule did not apply to any games in the World Series, in which the AL and NL winners met for the world championship. From 1976-1985, it applied only to Series held in even-numbered years, and in 1986 the current rule took effect—the designated hitter rule is used according to the practice of the home team."

    "On April 6, 1973—Opening Day—Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the league’s first designated hitter. In his first plate appearance, he was walked on a full count by the Boston Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant."
    ===========================================================================

    FROM: http://nyyfansforum.sny.tv
    April 6, 1973: Yankees’ Ron Blomberg baseball’s first designated hitter
    http://nyyfansforum.sny.tv/forum/for...ignated-hitter

    ===========================================================================

    The Historical Evolution of the Designated Hitter Rule
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/the...d-hitter-rule/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:

    "Before Ron Blomberg stepped into the batter’s box on April 6, 1973, as the major leagues’ first Designated Hitter (DH), he sought the advice of one of his Yankees coaches, Elston Howard, on how he should take on this new baseball position. Howard advised him,“Go hit and then sit down.” Blomberg drew a walk. That first DH trip to the plate was the realization of a revolutionary baseball concept."

    "The Nineteenth Century: The First DH Proposal"
    "The DH may have been a revolutionary concept, but it was by no means a new one. The idea of a player hitting for the pitcher every time his turn comes up had its roots in the late nineteenth century. The seeds were sown in 1887 when rule changes permitting substitutes in the game were explored."
    ===========================================================================

    Ten Years of the Designated Hitter
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/ten...gnated-hitter/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:

    "After ten seasons of the DH, a brief review of its origin and operation would be appropriate."

    "Because of the general deterioration in hitting and the painfully small contribution made by pitchers, the International League in 1969 experimented with a system whereby a team could designate another player to hit for the pitcher. Some managers claimed they disliked the idea but, even though the DH was optional, they all used it. Based on the minor league experiments, discussion then centered on possible adoption of this rule change at the major league level. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who for several years had insisted that batting averages ought to be higher, favored adoption of the DH. The National League refused to go along with the idea, but the American League decided at its winter meeting in December 1972 to adopt it on an experimental basis starting with the 1973 season."

    "Although traditionalists are still against the DH rule, it has had some positive effects. Players whose careers might otherwise have been over are still able to contribute. The hit-and-run play is flow being used more at the bottom of the lineup. To my way of thinking, it still proves to be a better method than having the pitcher try to bat."

    "Not all the results have been positive. It has had an adverse effect on starting pitchers because the easy out has been eliminated. Games prove to be longer now because pitching changes are made more during innings than at the end. Also, the American League seems to be at a disadvantage during the non-DH World Series."
    ===========================================================================

    Why Has No True DH Been Elected to the Hall of Fame — Yet?
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/why...l-of-fame-yet/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:

    "The Designated Hitter has been the way of life in the American League since 1973. With this extensive history, it prompts the question “Why has no true DH been elected to the Hall of Fame — yet?” Naturally, the next is “Will there be a DH in the Hall, and when and who will that be?”

    "First, it is necessary to determine how many players have played enough games at DH to be considered Hall of Fame material. From 1973 to the conclusion of the 2017 season, only nine players appeared in 1,000 or more games at DH. All of them are retired from the game, and two are in the Hall of Fame: Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor. Thomas was the designated hitter in only 56.42 percent of the games he played in, while Molitor’s percentage was even lower at 43.76."
    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    #2
    I attended that game at Boston where Ron became the first DH to bat. His walk did drive in a run. By the way one of the criticisms about the DH back then is since starting pitchers would not have to be pinch hit for in close games teams would not need as many pitchers on their rosters!

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ymike673 View Post
      I attended that game at Boston where Ron became the first DH to bat. His walk did drive in a run. By the way one of the criticisms about the DH back then is since starting pitchers would not have to be pinch hit for in close games teams would not need as many pitchers on their rosters!
      As I have often said...
      You have better seats than me...I have NONE ! LOL
      You were (and again are) so lucky to be able to get there and to have The Stadium be so close.
      I'm jealous...but happy for you.

      "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Tock Ada Shot View Post

        As I have often said...
        You have better seats than me...I have NONE ! LOL
        You were (and again are) so lucky to be able to get there and to have The Stadium be so close.
        I'm jealous...but happy for you.
        Since I own a seat from the original stadium I also have a seat at home, lol

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ymike673 View Post

          Since I own a seat from the original stadium I also have a seat at home, lol
          Ha, Ha, Ha...A true season ticket seat for all "home" games...
          I wouldn't have thought anything less for you. Only the ABSOLUTE BEST !!!
          When you sit in it, do Rizzuto & White call the game ?...LOL
          "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Tock Ada Shot View Post

            Ha, Ha, Ha...A true season ticket seat for all "home" games...
            I wouldn't have thought anything less for you. Only the ABSOLUTE BEST !!!
            When you sit in it, do Rizzuto & White call the game ?...LOL
            Haha. I wish.

            Comment


              #7
              I believe the National League experimented with the DH rule during some spring training games in the early 1920s.
              I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post
                I believe the National League experimented with the DH rule during some spring training games in the early 1920s.
                There were two votes in the 1920's on the DH. But both leagues had to agree to it. Both times the NL voted for it but the AL voted against it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post
                  I believe the National League experimented with the DH rule during some spring training games in the early 1920s.
                  Researching it, the only hint to it, that I could find, was in my post of the sabr.org article:
                  "The Historical Evolution of the Designated Hitter Rule" at:
                  https://sabr.org/journal/article/the...d-hitter-rule/:

                  "During the Roaring Twenties, Babe Ruth and his home run hitting made him a bigger-than-life hero to the American public. Americans were captivated by the home run and wanted more offense in the National Pastime. This might explain why John Heydler, President of the National League, jumped on the DH bandwagon. He discussed what at the time was termed “the ten-man rule” at the annual major league meeting held in Chicago on December 13, 1928. Heydler did not mince words: “We have pitchers in our league—I don’t know how many in the American—that when they come to the plate they are absolutely a dead loss; gum up the play; gum up the action.” He went on to substantiate his claim when he said: “In looking over the averages, I have taken our League, and I am pretty sure it is true of the other League, out of the lowest 51, 47 were pitchers. The year before 57 out of 62 were pitchers.”

                  "Sam Breadon, majority owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, agreed with Heydler in principle but did not like the idea of the extra hitter because it would create more specialists. He stated “We have a specialist now, he is the pitcher.” Instead, he proposed: “I do think if we could give the manager the choice of whether he would have his pitcher hit each time at bat, or he can pass that time and let it go to the next man, that would eliminate that dead end of the ball game.”

                  "After the matter was discussed, Commissioner Landis asked for a motion. Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Nationals of the American League, made the following motion: “I move it be tabled.”

                  "...Griffith aside, there was some support at the time for Heydler’s idea. Though the idea was tabled, several National League managers indicated that they would try the “ten-man rule” on their own during spring training games."

                  "The subject of the DH lay dormant during the 1930s. The concept was again reported by The Sporting News in its “Caught on the Fly” column in the January 2, 1941, issue:"
                  "A long discussed experiment—elimination of the pitcher as a batter—will be given its first test next spring
                  in state tournaments to be conducted by the National Semi-Pro Baseball Congress. …
                  The proposal provides for use of a pinch-hitter each time for the pitcher, without removing the hurler from the game."
                  ======================================================================

                  However, further researching it, I ran across the following pertaining to the National League not experimenting with the DH rule:
                  Report: National League could adopt DH in 2021
                  https://www.amny.com/sports/report-n...pt-dh-in-2021/


                  "In 1929, NL president John Heydler proposed a DH that would add a 10th name to the lineup card, though it wouldn’t gain enough steam to be experimented with."
                  ======================================================================

                  Consequently, after researching if "...the National League experimented with the DH rule during some spring training games in the early 1920s", I wasn't able to find anything definite to confirm it. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if it was experimented with, without it being officially documented.
                  "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

                  Comment

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