Profile America: Designated Hitter

Ron Blomberg,NY Yankees, was the American Leagues’s first designated hitter (DH) on April 6, 1973.

Thursday, January 11th. This date 45 years ago was a day that lives in infamy, at least among baseball purists. In 1973, the American League approved a three-year experiment with replacing pitchers in the batting order with a designated hitter (DH). The rule change stuck, and is the most visible distinction between the two major leagues.

The first DH to come to the plate was the New York Yankees’ Ron Blomberg on April 6, 1973. The anticlimactic result was a walk. But as the bases were loaded, he drove in a run. Still, the Boston Red Sox prevailed 15 to 5.

There are 15 major league designated hitter jobs in America, a tiny, one-in-10-million specialty, among the nearly 159 million people 16 and older in the work force.

Profile America is in its 21st year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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