First Designated Hitter, Ron Blomberg,
April 6, 1973
The 1966 Yankees finished in last place so they had the first pick in
the 1967 free agent draft. That selection was Ron Blomberg. He made his
major league debut September 10, 1969 with three hits in six at-bats
late in the season
Then on Opening Day April 6, 1973, he was on the scene ready to make
baseball history at Fenway Park. Blomberg, who had played first base and
the outfield but was now due to injuries limited in mobility, was
baseball's first "Designated Pinch Hitter," the term used back then.
"With Bobby Bonds in right field," Blomberg joked, "and three first
basemen, I might as well have donated my glove to charity. I asked
Ellie, (Howard) 'What do I do?,'" Blomberg said. "He said 'The only
thing you do is go take batting practice and just hit.' They announced
the lineup. Bob Sheppard), he was great, a great voice up there, said
'Ron Blomberg, DH.'
"When it was my time to hit, the bases were loaded. I was batting sixth
in the Yankee order against Luis Tiant. I walked and forced in a run.
" I was left at first base, and I was going to stay there because
normally that was my position. Elston said 'Come on back to the bench,
you aren't supposed to stay out here.' I went back and said, 'What do I
do?' He said, 'You just sit here with me.'
The brand new DH went 1-for-3 in the game, drove in a run and scored a
run. After the game ended, Blomberg's bat was shipped off to the
Baseball Hall of fame. The DH was now a part of baseball history and
For the record the complete and original "designated hitter" list:
Rob Blomberg is remembered most of all as the
first DH, (to bat), but he was a very talented athlete, slowed and
hampered by injuries. His lifetime batting average is just below .300.
When the Yankees made him the first overall pick in 1967, Blomberg had
hundreds of scholarship offers to play football and basketball. "
"I went into the Hall of Fame through the back door," he said.
Everywhere I go, people always talk about me being the first DH in
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
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