Dan Driessen of the Reds became the first National League player to be used as a designated hitter during the first game of the 1976 World Series. From 1973 to 1975, though the DH had been employed in the American League, all World Series games were played under National League rules, with no DH and pitchers batting.
Starting in 1976, the DH rule applied to all games in the World Series, regardless of venue, but only in even-numbered years. Beginning in 1986, the DH rule was used in games played in the stadium of the American League representative.
6 thoughts on “This day in baseball: First NL DH”
Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that Major League Baseball plays with two different sets of rules is sheer insanity: it’s like if the Western Conference in the NBA had no three-point shot, or if the AFC still had the goalposts right on the goal line. I hope “sheer insanity” finds its way onto Bud Selig’s plaque at Cooperstown.
I think in some ways, the MLB is still stuck in the old mindset of two separate leagues. They may be united, but still like to maintain their distinctions.
To DH or not DH is one of the few baseball debates I love. I’ve always been a big backer of keeping the leagues different. Now I wish we could get rid of inter-league play to make the World Series feel even more exotic assuming the DH is used in AL cities and not used in NL cities.
I agree re: keeping the leagues different. It makes for very different strategies and styles of play. I’m not sure how much support you’d get on eliminating interleague play, though, considering that series like the I-70 series and, I imagine, Chicago rivalries and of course New York rivalries draw larger crowds with higher ticket prices. The powers that be wouldn’t want to lose that.
I guess you’re right. Boils down to money, but mangoes I miss the way a season somehow winds up WS like it did in 1985 or whenever the Mets face the Yankees.