“I could have gone on the DL or I could have been the DH.”
And that’s how it all began for Ron Blomberg who was the first AL DH during the 1973 season as a New York Yankee. Blomberg spoke with Tiki, Brandon and Dana on The Morning Show Friday to talk about what the DH position meant then and what it means now.
“Whoever knew that after 40 years that the DH is still going to be in the game of baseball,” Blomberg said. “It was a joke, to be honest with you, it was a glorified pinch hitter. If you would have told me the DH was going to last for 30 days after I did it, I would have told you it wasn’t going to last.”
While there is some debate as to whether the National League should have a DH so that there is no advantage, Blomberg noted that the American League originally added the DH position in hopes of boosting the entertainment value.
“The American League had the DH, realistically, because they needed more runs and they needed the attendance. It was a gimmick, it was a gimmick.”
With the 40th anniversary of the first DH coming up on Saturday, Blomberg recognizes that being a DH isn’t as big of a deal now as it was in the past.
“When I came up, the DH was a novelty … now you got the high levels, you got the college levels, you most minor league levels, most of these guys are DH’s,” Blomberg said. “If you go watch a National League team they are the most depressing thing in the whole world to watch these pitchers try to hit the ball. They don’t know how to hit because they have never hit in college ball, they’ve never hit in high school ball and they’ve never hit in professional ball.”
While the DH position may not be changing anytime soon, the environment surrounding the game has. Blomberg talked about the change he has seen in baseball through nostalgia.
“It’s not a fan-friendly game anymore, where the fans when we played, they were the heroes of the game,” Blomberg said. “We went out and signed autographs. Those are the guys that really cared about the game. Nowadays, the players are making so much money … they got all the cars, all the houses. It’s a disconnect.”