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North is the A's answer to Blomberg. in team history on April 6, 1973, when he stepped into the batter's box against Bert Blyleven of the Minnesota Twins and reached first base on an error by shortstop Danny Thompson.
But if Blomberg, now 64, were to tip his cap, he ought to do so in the direction of Oakland. It was Charlie O. Finley, the A's maverick owner, who sponsored Rule 6.10 the one that still riles purists four decades later. was our idea," Nancy Finley, the late owner's niece, wrote in an email. had been proposed for the big leagues as early as 1928 by National League president John H. Heydler. in Triple A leagues. They were searching for ways to reignite stagnant offenses.
How the designated hitter became part of Major League Baseball
such that he was firing orange baseballs at us when we walked into the meeting," Selig recalled in a 1996 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"It gave me a job," Bill North said with a laugh.
Finley persuaded his fellow owners to adopt the radical change on an experimental basis for the 1973 season. was born. (Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee later called it "the bastard son of Bowie Kuhn and Charlie Finley.")
"I didn't care if we had the greatest relief pitcher in the world which we did (Rollie Fingers). I didn't want to come out of a game. allowed me to stay in the game."
And while the designated hitter rule can still stoke a red hot debate, at least one player of that era embraced the newfangled idea from the start.
the Chicago Cubs. Oakland's lineup featured Joe Rudi in left, Billy Conigliaro in center and Reggie Jackson in right. Overall, he batted .269 in his 26 at bats in that role before Deron Johnson emerged as the regular designated hitter.
North, now 64, recounted Roshe Run Men All Black his distinction while in Oakland recently for the 40 year reunion of the '73 World Series winners. only out of circumstance. Speedy shortstop Bert "Campy" Campaneris was still serving his suspension for throwing a bat at Detroit Tigers pitcher Lerrin LaGrow during the '72 playoffs.
But North failed to crack the A's opening day outfield after arriving in an offseason trade with Roshe Run Mens Sale
"Charlie's mood in those days was Nike Roshe Run Eclipse
"And I was the only other leadoff type hitter they had," North said. history. Some of most notable players at that position have been defensive challenged sluggers David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez.
One small step for Blomberg. One giant step for aging sluggers everywhere.
North, in contrast, was a fleet young singles hitter. He went on to hit .285 with 53 stolen bases and 98 runs during that '73 season. And North's glove wasn't just for decoration.
But Ken Holtzman, another good hitting pitcher on the A's staff, was happy to put his bat in storage.
But as it celebrates its 40th anniversary, there's no indication it's going away. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was at the Plaza Hotel, representing his Milwaukee Brewers, when Finley made his pivotal pitch at that 1972 meeting.
"I don't think anyone expected the experiment to last this long, but as much of a purist and traditionalist as I am, I think it's a way of life and worked out well.
"Catfish was like that, but I viewed it the other way: I'll give up my macho stuff at the plate to stay in the game and do what I'm supposed to do," Holtzman said recently.
"The average fan comes to the park to see action, home runs. He doesn't come to see a one , two , three or four hit game," Finley said during his crusade. "I can't think of anything more boring than to see a pitcher come up, when the average pitcher can't hit my grandmother. Let's have a permanent pinch hitter for the pitcher."
OAKLAND Former New York Yankee Ron Blomberg was honored at Fenway Park on Wednesday as the first designated hitter in baseball history. rule turned 40 this year, and it was Blomberg who paved the way in Boston on April 6, 1973, with a bases loaded walk in the first inning against Luis Tiant.
Finley pushed hardest. For one thing, the American League's batting average in 1972 was .239.
Not all of the A's were thrilled with their owner's new rule. Catfish Hunter, for one, lamented that he'd no longer be able to take his hacks at the plate. In 1971, the Hall of Fame pitcher had batted .350 with a homer and 12 RBIs.
(In that '73 season, Holtzman didn't swing a bat until the World Series when he hit pivotal doubles in games 1 and 7 against the New York Roshes Boys Size 7
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