The Historical Evolution of the Designated Hitter Rule

By John Cronin

This article was published in the Fall 2016 Baseball Research Journal.

The DH may have been a revolutionary concept when it was introduced by the American League in 1973, 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. 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 . . .

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