The era of the designated hitter has seen its highs, lows—and a few pitchers who could still swing it
1892 Pirates president William Chase Temple proposes a rule exempting pitchers from hitting; NL owners vote it down 7--5
1973 In a letter to The New York Times, a fan argues the DH reflects "the spreading desire among Americans for quick action and easy results that lead [to] ... drug abuse and environmental pollution"
1973 On April 6, Minnesota's Tony Oliva is the first DH to hit a home run
1973 Pitchers love the DH—or at least the lack of pinch hitters: The AL (led by Wilbur Wood's 24 victories) has 12 20-game winners, the most ever
1974 Some pitchers don't love the DH: Red Sox righty Rick Wise sneers, "The designated hitter rule is like letting someone else take Wilt Chamberlain's free throws"
1976 The Reds' Dan Driessen goes deep in Game 3 to become the first DH to homer in a World Series
1978 Detroit's Rusty Staub is the first player to play 162 games in a season and do nothing but DH
1980 Orioles manager Earl Weaver lists pitchers as phantom DHs, then pinch-hits to get favorable matchups. A rule is passed: starting DHs must bat once
1988 Yankees righthander Rick Rhoden, who hit .300 three times while pitching in the NL, starts a game at DH for the Yankees—he's the only pitcher ever to do so—and drives in a run with a sacrifice fly