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Encyclopedia > Designated Hitter
David Ortiz standing in the batter's box as a designated hitter in a 2006 game.

A designated hitter (often shortened to DH) is an official position adopted by Major League Baseball's American League in 1973 that allowed teams to boost sagging offensive performances by designating a player to bat in place of the pitcher. Since then, most amateur and minor leagues have adopted the same or a similar rule, but the National League has not. However, during interleague play at American League ballparks, National League teams may use the DH. Image File history File links David_ortiz_designated_hitter. ... Image File history File links David_ortiz_designated_hitter. ... David Ortiz (IPA , or roughly or-TEES, according to Latin American pronunciation) (born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as David Américo Ortiz Arias), is a Major League Baseball designated hitter who plays for the Boston Red Sox (since 2003). ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... American League The American League (or formally the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs) is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States of America and Canada. ... mcv ... A Class A California League game in San Jose, California (1994) Minor baseball leagues are North American professional baseball leagues that compete at a level below that of Major League Baseball. ... The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada (until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington) and the worlds oldest extant professional team sports league. ... Interleague Play Logo Interleague play is the term used to describe regular season Major League Baseball games played with teams in different leagues, introduced in 1997. ... American League The American League (or formally the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs) is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States of America and Canada. ... The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada (until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington) and the worlds oldest extant professional team sports league. ...

Contents

The rule

The designated hitter cannot be used for any player other than the pitcher. Use of the DH is optional. The designated hitter may not play a field position and he may only be replaced by another player not currently in the lineup. However, the designated hitter may change positions to become a position player at any point during the game. However, if he does so, his team forfeits the role of the designated hitter. Thus, the pitcher or a pinch hitter must bat in the newly-opened spot in the batting order. The designated hitter could also become the pitcher, in which case the pitcher or a pinch hitter must hit when that spot in the batting order comes up again. In baseball, a pinch hitter is a common term for a substitute batter. ...


Background and history

The rationale is that, with a few exceptions, pitchers are usually weak hitters. Babe Ruth was an outstanding all-around player; a prolific hitter who had begun his career as an equally successful pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, and soon began playing in the field on days he did not pitch (to prevent severe arm injury, a given starting pitcher will perform once every four or five games). However, Ruth was eventually made a full-time outfielder during his first year as a member of the New York Yankees, 1920, and pitched very sporadically afterward. Generally, Ruth's post-1920 starts for the Yankees were at home, for the main purpose of boosting attendance. For the band, see Babe Ruth (band). ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, 27, 42 Name Boston Red Sox (1908–present) Boston Americans (1901-1907) Ballpark Fenway Park (1912–present) Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds (1901-1911) Major league titles World Series titles (6) 2004... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ...


The designated hitter, like other experimental baseball rule changes, was in part the brainchild of A's owner Charlie Finley. It was used first in spring training games in 1969, and was later adopted by the American League beginning in 1973. Charles Oscar Finley (February 22, 1918 _ February 19, 1997), Major League Baseball owner, was the flamboyant owner of the Oakland Athletics. ... A Grapefruit League game at the LA Dodgers camp in Vero Beach, Florida In Major League Baseball, spring training is a series of exhibition games which precedes the regular season. ...


On April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history, facing Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance. "Boomer" Blomberg was walked. April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... Ronald Mark Blomberg (born August 23, 1948 in Atlanta, Georgia), nicknamed Boomer, is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder who played with the New York Yankees (1969, 1971-76) and Chicago White Sox (1978). ... Luis Tiant [loo-IS tee-ANT] (born November 23, 1940 in Marianao, Cuba), born Luis Clemente Tiant Vega, is a former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians (1964-1969), Minnesota Twins (1970), Boston Red Sox (1971-1978), New York Yankees (1979-80... In baseball statistics, a player has a plate appearance (denoted by PA) every time he: Has an at bat (AB) Receives a base on balls (BB) Receives a hit by pitch (HBP) Hits a sacrifice fly (SF) Hits a sacrifice bunt (SH) Reaches base because of interference A batter does... In baseball statistics, a base on balls (BB), also called a walk, is credited to a batter and against a pitcher when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. ...


Naturally, the result of the first season of the DH was that the American League posted a higher batting average than the National League, something which has remained consistent to this day. However, fears that pitchers would be marginalized as effective players were allayed when a record twelve starting pitchers won twenty or more games in 1973.[1]


Strategically, the designated hitter offers American League managers two primary options: they can either rotate the role among players, using left-handed hitting DHs against right-handed pitchers and vice-versa, or they can employ a full-time designated hitter. It also allows them to give a player a partial day off. The adoption of the designated hitter rule has virtually eliminated the use of the double switch in the American League. In baseball, the double switch is a type of pitcher substitution that improves a teams batting order. ...


At first, the DH rule was not applied to the World Series. In 1976, it was decided the rule would apply to all games, regardless of venue, but only in even-numbered years. This practice lasted until 1985. The next year, the rule was adapted to its current format of only applying in games played in the American League team's stadium. For other events named World Series, see World Series (disambiguation). ... The 1976 World Series matched the defending champion Cincinnati Reds of the National League against the New York Yankees of the American League, with the Reds sweeping the Series to repeat. ... The 1985 World Series, popularly known as the Show-Me Series and the I-70 showdown Series, pitted the National League champion St. ... Dates October 18, 1986–October 25, 1986 MVP Ray Knight (New York) Television network NBC Announcers Vin Scully, Joe Garagiola Umpires John Kibler (NL), Jim Evans (AL), Harry Wendelstedt (NL), Joe Brinkman (AL), Ed Montague (NL), Dale Ford (AL) The 1986 World Series, the 83rd playing of the modern championship...


Similarly, there was initially no DH in the All-Star Game. Beginning in 1989, the rule was applied only to games played in American League stadiums. When this occurs, fans are allowed to select an AL player to start at that position, while the NL's manager decides that league's starting DH. When regular season interleague play was introduced in 1997, the rule was, and continues to be, applied in the same fashion. On June 12, 1997, San Francisco Giants outfielder Glenallen Hill became the first National League player to be the DH in a regular-season game against the American League's Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington, when they met in interleague play. When the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the AL to the NL in 1998, the Brewers no longer used the DH on a regular basis, and, as also usually happens when a minor-league pitcher joins an NL team, their pitchers needed to take batting practice. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also popularly known as the Midsummer Classic is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by fan vote for the starting position players and by the manager (the managers from the previous years... Interleague Play Logo Interleague play is the term used to describe regular season Major League Baseball games played with teams in different leagues, introduced in 1997. ... The following are the events of the year 1997 that happened world-wide throughout the sport of baseball. ... June 12 is the 163rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (164th in leap years), with 202 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Major league affiliations National League (1883–present) West Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers NY, NY, 3, 4, 11, 24, 27, 30, 36, 42, 44 Name San Francisco Giants (1958–present) New York Giants (1885-1957) New York Gothams (1883-1885) Troy Union Cities / Trojans (1879-1882) Ballpark AT... Glenallen Hill (born March 22, 1965 in Santa Cruz, California) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who played for 13 seasons. ... The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada (until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington) and the worlds oldest extant professional team sports league. ... Major league affiliations American League (1961–present) West Division (1972–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 26,34,42 Name Texas Rangers (1972–present) Washington Senators (1961-1971) Ballpark Ameriquest Field in Arlington (1994–present) a. ... Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is a baseball stadium in Arlington, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. ... Major league affiliations National League (1998–present) Central Division (1998–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 4, 19, 34, 42, 44 Name Milwaukee Brewers (1970–present) Seattle Pilots (1969) Ballpark Miller Park (2001–present) County Stadium (1970-2000) Sicks Stadium (Seattle) (1969) Major league titles World Series titles (0) None... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ...


In recent years, full-time DHs have become rare, and the position has been used to give players a partial off-day, allowing them to bat but rest while the other team is batting. In 2005, only four players, David Ortiz, Travis Hafner, Carl Everett and Raul Ibanez, had more than 300 at-bats as a DH. David Ortiz (IPA , or roughly or-TEES, according to Latin American pronunciation) (born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as David Américo Ortiz Arias), is a Major League Baseball designated hitter who plays for the Boston Red Sox (since 2003). ... Travis Lee Hafner (b. ... Carl Edward Everett (born June 3, 1971 in Tampa, Florida) is an outfielder in Major League Baseball. ... Raúl Javier Ibánez [e-BAH-nyes] (born June 2, 1972 in New York, NY) is a designated hitter/outfielder in Major League Baseball who plays with the Seattle Mariners. ...


Criticism

Baseball purists, and fans of the no-DH National League, argue that use of the designated hitter destroys the symmetry of the game. When the pitcher bats, all nine players take turns at the plate and in the field. With the DH, there are, effectively, three different classes of players, distinctly separating pitchers from other fielders and designated hitters. The use of the DH introduces an element of offensive and defensive specialization more akin to football. United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ...


While the DH is batting in what would be the lineup spot for the pitcher, the pitcher may be inserted into another spot in the lineup when the DH role is terminated, inconsistent with the principle that a player's position in the lineup is fixed for the entire game.


The designated hitter rule also changes manager strategy in late innings. Traditionally, a manager must decide when to let a pitcher bat or remove him, as well as who to pinch-hit with and where or if that player should take the field afterward. When the decision to remove a pitcher is made, the manager may also elect to double switch, delaying the new pitcher's turn at bat. In baseball, the double switch is a type of pitcher substitution that improves a teams batting order. ...


On the opposite side, a manager in a close game may have to choose whether or not to pitch around a DH in the late innings, possibly granting an intentional base on balls to avoid a potentially hard-hitting slugger in place of a relatively weak pitcher, while an NL manager will not have to choose whether or not to give up a baserunner (and the associated wear and tear on his pitcher's arm) to avoid a DH. In baseball statistics, an intentional base on balls (denoted by IBB), often called an intentional walk, is used in baseball to count the number of times a walk was issued with no intent of ever allowing a hit. ...


Advocates of the DH point to the fact that it has extended many careers, and, in a few cases, created long, productive careers for players who are weak fielders or have a history of injuries, such as Edgar Martinez. Moreover, Hall of Fame members George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski, and Paul Molitor were able to extend their prolific careers by a few years as designated hitters. Dick Stuart, a notoriously poor fielder, played before there was a DH rule. (Critics of the DH reply that creating or extending the careers of poor fielders is not necessarily a good thing). Image:Edgar-martinez. ... The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 62 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a semi-official museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related... George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953 in Glen Dale, West Virginia) is a former Major League Baseball player for the Kansas City Royals. ... Carl Michael Yaz Yastrzemski (pronounced ) (born August 22, 1939) was an American Major League Baseball player. ... Reverse side of a Paul Molitor baseball card Paul Leo Molitor (born August 22, 1956 in St. ... Richard Lee Dick Stuart (November 7, 1932 - December 15, 2002) was a Major League Baseball first baseman from 1958 to 1969. ...


Fans of the DH rule argue that pitchers are able to play deeper into games than they otherwise might, by removing the manager's incentive to remove a pitcher from play in order to attain a short-term offensive advantage, and that since a pitcher's typical offensive "contribution" is at best to get out and at worst as a rally-killing double or triple play, it improves the play of the game to remove an "easy out" player from the batting order (AL fans also point out that the only baseball strategy removed by the addition of the designated hitter is the double switch; if anything, modern AL baseball with its dizzying array of specialist pitchers and batting styles is much more complex than baseball before 1973). Some National League baseball fans also claim that the designated hitter encourages beanball wars by removing the pitcher from the batting order, where he might be subject to retaliation. After stepping on second base, the fielder throws to first to complete a double play In baseball, a double play (denoted on statistics sheets by DP) is the act of making two outs during the same continuous playing action. ... In baseball, a triple play (denoted by TP) is the act of making three outs during the same continuous play. ... In baseball, the double switch is a type of pitcher substitution that improves a teams batting order. ... Beanball is a colloquial sports term for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking him such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the players head (or bean in old-fashioned slang). ...


Another perspective is that there is a significant difference in the preparation required between hitting and pitching. A pitcher is quickly worn down by his position and can only start every 4-5 days or pitch 1-2 innings of relief for 2-3 consecutive days. Sports like basketball, football, hockey, and soccer offer no equivalent where one position is much more physically taxing than all others. A hitter hits better when he is able to play regularly and fine tune his swing, judgment of the strike zone, and comfort with different pitchers and pitches. This is especially important early in hitters careers and hitters who could be valuable to their major league club as reserves are often kept in the minors so they can play every day and develop their skills. Pitchers need rest, hitters need reps. Occasionally a pitcher can be effective on short rest in the playoffs or an NL pitcher or pinch hitter who only appears once every five games can post good statistics with limited at bats, but those are the exceptions to the rule. Even most full time pinch hitters or utility players are former major or minor league regulars who had years to develop their hitting skills. The DH rule does not just extend the careers of aging sluggers, it also saves pitchers from the overwhelming difficulty of being asked to perform the task of batting with 8 batters who bat about 5 times as often.


There is considerable debate over whether the designated hitter rule should be continued. Some have even argued that the National League should adopt it full time. There are also fans who enjoy the fact that the different leagues use different rules, arguing that there should be some differences between the American and National Leagues and the Designated hitter is a fine example of that. Two generations of fans of American League teams have grown up with the Designated Hitter rule being in place, and for them, the DH is as much a traditional part of baseball as the pitcher batting is for fans of National League teams. The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada (until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington) and the worlds oldest extant professional team sports league. ...


Critics also allege that, with this rule, the quality of play suffers because the home teams automatically receive a significant unnatural advantage no matter what league's rules are in effect. To combat this, Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig has proposed that the road team's rules would be followed for interleague games. It has proven to be an unpopular proposal. In 1920, the owners of Major League Baseball, in order to reestablish confidence of fans in the sport following the Black Sox Scandal, established the office of Commissioner of Baseball. ... Bud Selig Allan Huber the idiot Selig, Jr. ...


The designated hitter outside Major League Baseball

Amateur baseball

The use of the designated hitter rule in amateur baseball is nearly universal. The primary difference between the DH in the professional and amateur games is that the DH may bat in place of one player in any position in most amateur baseball leagues such as those that use National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rules. Most high school coaches use a designated hitter in place of the weakest hitter in the lineup, if they use one at all. In amateur baseball, pitchers are often better hitters than non-pitchers and will often play another position when not pitching. Professional pitchers usually focus exclusively on improving their pitching, thus their batting skills often deteriorate compared to their teammates. However, in Canada, the DH must bat for the pitcher still. The National Federation of State High School Associations (or NFHS) is the body which oversees and governs most high school interscholastic athletics and extracirriculars in the United States at the national level. ... Baseball around the world is played under three major rules codes, which differ only slightly. ...


One notable exception to the NFHS designated hitter rule in youth baseball is American Legion baseball. Legion rules exactly follow those prescribed in the Official Baseball Rules, which allow the DH only to bat for the pitcher. Prior to 1995, the use of the DH was not allowed in Legion baseball. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


In college baseball, NCAA rules state that the designated hitter must hit for the pitcher, but in many instances the pitcher is also a good hitter, and the coach may elect to let the pitcher bat in the lineup. If the pitcher opts to bat for himself, he is treated as two separate positions — a pitcher and a designated hitter (abbreviated P/DH on the lineup card) — and may be substituted for as such (i.e. if he is removed as the pitcher, he may remain as the designated hitter and vice versa). However, if a player who starts a game as a P/DH is relieved as the starting pitcher, he may not return to the mound even if he remains in the game as the DH, and he may not play any other defensive position after being relieved as the pitcher. Conversely, a player who begins the game as the DH, but not as the pitcher, may come into the game as a reliever and remain as the DH (in effect becoming a P/DH), be relieved on the mound later in the game but continue to bat as the DH. College baseball is baseball as played on the intercollegiate level at institutions of higher education, predominantly in the United States. ... The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often said NC-Double-A) is a voluntary association of about 1200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletics programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. ...


International baseball leagues

The DH is used in most professional baseball leagues around the world. One notable exception is the Central League of Japan, where pitchers bat as they do in the National League. See also: Central League (football) The Central League (セントラル・リーグ Sentoraru Riigu) is one of Japans two major professional baseball leagues (the other is the Pacific League). ...


Minor leagues

Most, if not all, of the minor leagues have adopted the designated hitter rule for use in their games. Generally, the only exceptions are at the triple-A and double-A levels, and then only in games where two National League affiliates play each other. As players move up and get closer to reaching the majors, teams prefer to have the rules mimic (as closely as possible) those of the Major Leagues. A significant difference from the majors is that, in minor-league play, if either team is affiliated with an American League club, the DH is used regardless of the game site. Single-A and Rookie leagues use the DH in all games. A Class A California League game in San Jose, California (1994) Minor baseball leagues are North American professional baseball leagues that compete at a level below that of Major League Baseball. ...


The designated hitter in popular culture

In the movie Bull Durham, Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) says he believes (among other things) that "there should be a constitutional amendment outlawing astroturf and the designated hitter". Bull Durham is a 1988 American movie about love and baseball. ... Kevin Michael Costner (born January 18, 1955) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American film actor and director who has often produced his own films. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2006-02-04, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...


The designated hitter was ranked number nine overall in the book Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History by author Greg Wyshynski (Taylor Trade 2006).


In the movie, Loaded Weapon 1, Destiny Demeanor (played by Kathy Ireland) is asked about the DH rule in a parody of the famous interrogation scene of Basic Instinct by Sgt. Jack Colt (played by Emilio Estevez). Destiny replies, "I hate it. It takes away the purity of the game." promotional poster Loaded Weapon 1 (also known as National Lampoons Loaded Weapon 1) is a 1993 comedy film, directed by Gene Quintano and starring Emilio Estevez, Samuel L. Jackson and William Shatner. ... Kathy Ireland became famous largely as a result of being a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. ... Basic Instinct is a 1992 thriller film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. ... Emilio Estévez (born May 12, 1962 in New York, New York) is an American actor, director and writer. ...


See also

In Major League Baseball, the designated hitter (DH) is used in the batting lineup in place of the pitcher through a rule adopted by the American League in 1973. ...

References

  1. ^ 1973 American League leaderboards Baseball Reference.

External links

  • Rule 6.10, the Designated Hitter Rule, from MLB's Official Rules
  • Abolish the Designated Hitter (anti-designated hitter website)
  • The Etiology of Public Support for the Designated Hitter Rule, by Christopher Zorn and Jeff Gill, June 1, 2006
  • The Designated Hitter as Moral Hazard, by Daniel H. Pink, December 12, 2004
Baseball positions
Image:Baseball_fielding_positions_tiny.svg
Outfielders: Left field | Center field | Right field
Infielders: 3rd base | Shortstop | 2nd base | 1st base
Battery: Pitcher | Catcher
Other: Designated hitter

  Results from FactBites:
 
Major League Baseball's Rule of the DH (486 words)
A Designated Hitter for the pitcher must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the Umpire in Chief.
The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.
A runner may be substituted for the Designated Hitter and the runner assumes the role of Designated Hitter.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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