All Teams
All Teams

On this date in 1973, the AL adopted the designated hitter

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At a meeting in Chicago on January 11, 1973, MLB owners voted on what the New York Times described at the time as the most significant rule change in baseball since foul balls were ruled strikes. The designated hitter rule went into effect in the AL 41 years ago and the junior circuit hasn't looked back since.

Of course, the NL hasn't followed suit, and the rule continues to inspire strong emotions on both the pro- and anti- sides of the debate over it. But the least you can say is that after more than four decades, the once-radical DH has attained a measure of longevity.

The first player to come to the plate as a DH in MLB history was Ron Blomberg of the Yankees, who drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning of an April 6, 1973, game against Boston. In the video above, Blomberg explains how he came to occupy this niche of history (hint: a pulled hamstring was involved).


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