Forty years ago the American League instituted a rule that increased scoring, prolonged careers, pissed off purists -- and created generations of well-rested (and often well-fed) sluggers. SI.com takes a look back at the top designated hitters in the position's history.
Although Brian Downing had few truly extraordinary seasons -- he made just one All-Star Game, hit over .300 one time and never hit 30 home runs -- the 20-year big leaguer put together an impressive career, the latter half of it spent as a designated hitter. Downing hit 275 career home runs with 1,073 RBI and an OPS of .796. He possessed a keen eye at the plate, drawing 1,197 career walks to boost his on-base percentage to .370.