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Distinguished History
Steve Wulf
April 05, 1993
WHO WAS THE FIRST DESIGNATED HITTER? RON BLOMBERG'S NAME MAY BE A BIT OF TRIVIA, BUT THE IMPACT OF THE DH SINCE '73 HAS NOT BEEN TRIVIAL
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April 05, 1993

Distinguished History

WHO WAS THE FIRST DESIGNATED HITTER? RON BLOMBERG'S NAME MAY BE A BIT OF TRIVIA, BUT THE IMPACT OF THE DH SINCE '73 HAS NOT BEEN TRIVIAL

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DH Trivia Question No. 3 : Match these pitchers with their claim to fame:

1. Roric Harrison
2. Cy Acosta
3. Mark Langston
4. Rick Rhoden
5. Steve Stone

(a) First American League pitcher to bat after the DH rule was instituted.

(b) Last pitcher to bat in an American League regular-season game.

(c) Served as DH while attending Rosh Hashanah services.

(d) Last American League pitcher to homer in a regular-season game.

(e) Made Yankee regulars Rafael Santana and Joel Skinner feel very small.

If you got all five right, consider yourself a designated head case. The answers are 1 (d), 2 (a), 3 (b), 4 (e) and 5 (c). On Oct. 3, 1972, Harrison homered for the Baltimore Orioles. On June 20, 1973, Acosta had to bat after his Chicago White Sox manager, Chuck Tanner, moved designated hitter Tony Muser to first base to replace Dick Allen. On June 10, 1992, the California Angels' Langston pinch-ran for Hubie Brooks and stayed in the game when the team ran out of reserves. Langston struck out in both of his at bats.

The answers to numbers 4 and 5 deserve more explanation. On June 11,1988, Yankee manager Billy Martin decided to make pitcher Rhoden his DH for the day, batting him seventh, ahead of shortstop Santana and catcher Skinner. Rhoden was a .239 lifetime hitter and some regulars were injured, but the move was also Martin's way of saying he needed bench help. "I thought he was joking," said Rhoden. He wasn't. Rhoden grounded out and hit a sacrifice fly in his two at bats.

With 12 DH starts, Stone was Baltimore's fifth-most-used designated hitter in 1980, although he never actually went to bat. It seems that on Sept. 8 of that year, the Orioles knocked Detroit Tiger starter Milt Wilcox out of the box before he had a chance to face DH Lee May. Wilcox's reliever, Roger Weaver, retired May for the first out of the inning. Said Baltimore manager Earl Weaver after the game, "We knocked him out after five batters and had our DH coming up against a reliever I really didn't want him hitting against, but he stays in because I don't want to waste a hitter."

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