Hitter Rule Case Study
On April 6, 1973 Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees stepped up to the plate to hit on an opening day game at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. So began the now 43 year debate over the designated hitter (DH) rule. Major League Baseball’s (MLB) “Official Baseball Rules” state in part:
(a) (6.10(b)) The Designated Hitter Rule provides as follows:
(1) A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game.
The rule allows for another batter to hit instead of the pitcher in the lineup without having to play in the field. But the rule only applies to the …show more content…
The game wasn’t meant to be played with a designated hitter and all the players in the lineup should be in the field. Without the rule a NL manager must assess whether pinch hitting for the pitcher will give his offense a better chance of scoring in a close game and even consider substituting another defensive player at the same time, the “double switch”, in order to alter the pitchers spot in the batting order. With the rule an AL starting pitcher can remain in the game as long as he is effective. Fans of the rule say that this allows a pitcher to concentrate on pitching and not have to worry about batting or even, however rare, having to run the bases. Besides, who wants to watch a pitcher go up to the plate as an almost automatic out? The hitter before the pitcher regularly gets intentionally walked just to be able to pitch to the weak hitting …show more content…
The rule has impacted the composition of rosters in the American League. A team can afford to carry a player that can hit but not field well and as noted before, has extended the career of many aging sluggers. The Boston Red Sox first designated hitter, Orlando Cepeda, was signed after a stellar National League career even though bad knees would not allow him to play in the field. (O’Connell) This has led to the players union, the powerful MLB Players Association, being very much in favor of the rule. These player positions tend to pay much better than a 25th player on the roster would normally be. The rule is now ingrained at almost every level in professional baseball, including the minor leagues. According to milb.com, the official Minor League Baseball site, in those leagues the pitcher almost never hits unless two National League affiliate teams are playing each other. Realistically it would be very difficult to go back to rules with no