History Of The American League Designated Hitter

January 3, 2011

In 1973, the Major League Baseball was stirred up by the introduction of the designated hitter rule. This rule was basically conceptualized with the acknowledgment that the pitchers are the weakest batters in the whole team. This rule therefore allows baseball teams to designate a player to bat in lieu of the pitcher. This player is known as the designated hitter and can be anybody from the team.

Although the game of baseball has undergone a lot of changes since its inception in the 1880’s, there are some professional leagues that are not very open to the adaptation of these changes, including the designated hitter rule. Perhaps, this rule has aggravated a lot of doubts regarding the purpose and objective of its implementation. Who are to benefit with this rule? Is this rule the most practical solution to the batting insufficiency of pitchers?

These are questions that have caused MLB’s National League and NPB’s Central League to refuse the adaptation of the designated hitter rule. These prominent professional baseball leagues must certainly have reasons for doing so. Perhaps it is best to carefully analyze this rule and weigh out its advantages and disadvantages.

The idea of introducing a designated hitter in Major League Baseball started when sometime in 1972, fewer customers were drawn by nine out of the twelve clubs in the American Leagues. This led them to believe that the scores seem not to be going anywhere because of the pitchers that hit so weakly then. This was certainly true, for aside from the legendary Babe Ruth, most of the other pitchers fall into this category. The solution that was presented by Charlie Finley, who was then the owner of The Oakland A’s is the introduction of a tenth player which would be batting in place of the pitcher. Practically, this 10th player should be the hardest hitter among the players. The designated hitter rule then came into birth and was adopted by some of the major league teams.

Although the introduction of the designated hitter did stir up some excitement in the games, a lot of people are still not comfortable with a tenth player in the field. In fact, some even consider the idea taboo, and unfitting of the game. This has been the root of debates for many years now. Has the game indeed become more fun with the designated hitter rule? Or has it spoiled the originality and objectives of the game.

In order to settle this dispute, the option of using the designated hitter rule is left open. Teams in the major league may or may adopt this rule. Correspondingly, this has resulted positively since people with contrasting opinions regarding this rule have come to compare the outcomes of the games with designated hitters and those that are without; and judge the rule themselves.

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