Barr: The first day of designated hitting

From Michael Barr at The Hardball Times on June 29, 2015:

In January of 1973, the franchise owners of American League teams voted 8-4 to institute rule 6.10, allowing a team to choose to designate a player to hit in the place of its pitcher. While that was intended to be a three-year trial run, the designated hitter rule has stuck and been a source of debate among baseball observers ever since. This brief history is in no way attempting to adjudicate that debate. Rather, this is an attempt to shine a little light on our first designated hitters.

Ron Blomberg has received the most designated hitter attention over the years, as he was technically the first DH, beating Ollie Brown of the Milwaukee Brewers to the dish by about a half hour. And while Blomberg also registered the first run batted in, there were seven other “first” designated hitters for their respective teams back in 1973, and some have pretty interesting stories.

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Originally published: July 1, 2015. Last Updated: July 1, 2015.