After a seven-hour meeting in the Lancaster Room of the Sheraton-O’Hare Motor Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, American League owners voted 8-4 for something they called the “designated pinch hitter for the pitcher,” or DPH, an abbreviation quickly modified to DH. I asked Clark Griffith how the Twins voted and here is what he had to say. “The Twins voted for it and I think that was a mistake. The vote was based on having Killebrew and Oliva for DH. I was involved in the drafting of the rule and after the vote it occurred to me that we used the wrong statistic to support it. The stat used was pitcher BA v. hitters BA and it should have been pitchers and those who hit for pitchers v. other batters. In essence, that means measuring the ninth hitter with all others. The effect of not removing a pitcher for a PH was not considered either. The DH is a horrible rule that should be allowed to go away. I love reading NL box scores for their complexity.”
From what I can determine, Charlie Finley, former Oakland Athletics owner, is generally credited with leading the push for the DH in 1973. He was strongly supported by American League President Joe Cronin and owners Nick Mileti (Cleveland), Jerry Hoffberger (Baltimore), John Allyn (Chicago) and Bob Short (Texas). John Fetzer (Detroit), Bud Selig (Milwaukee) and Calvin Griffith (Minnesota) would make 8 votes in favor with Boston, New York, Kansas City and California voting against the DH.
Current rules for the DH
A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game. 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 named in the starting lineup must come to bat at least one time, unless the opposing club changes pitchers. It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that game.
Pinch hitters for a Designated Hitter may be used. Any substitute hitter for a Designated Hitter himself becomes a Designated Hitter. A replaced Designated Hitter shall not re-enter the game in any capacity. 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 the Designated Hitter.
A Designated Hitter is “locked” into the batting order. No multiple substitutions may be made that will alter the batting rotation of the Designated Hitter.
Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the DH role for the remainder of the game. Once a pinch-hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.
Once a Designated Hitter assumes a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.
At first, the designated hitter rule did not apply to any games in the World Series, in which the AL and NL winners met for the world championship. From 1976-1985, it applied only to Series held in even-numbered years, and in 1986 the current rule took effect, according to which the designated hitter rule is used or not used according to the practice of the home team. The list below shows the career numbers for players that played at least 50% of their games at DH.
The list below shows the numbers for Twins players that played at least 50% of their games at DH.