Why Only One Designated Hitter?

Why not five in a line-up? That’s an argument that resembles the opponents of gay marriage — if you start with one same-sex spouse, why draw the line there? But Michael Brendan Dougherty has a very good point. If we are willing to put up with Ryan Howard’s poor defensive skills at first base for the pop that he brings used to bring to the plate, why should we mind watching the futility of a Justin Verlander while trying to hit a ball?

The player that is most valuable for his defense is usually not very valuable on the offensive side of the ball. But what is the rationale for remedying this by instituting a position that is valuable on offense but contributes absolutely nothing on defense? Calcaterra is saying that the National League should add an extra player who is only good at offense because he is better at offense, a tautological argument that implies it is plainly wrong to want to see Clayton Kershaw at bat rather than David Ortiz. It’s only wrong if you’re rooting against the pitcher. . . .

Why should teams not pair an excellent defensive outfielder like Endy Chavez with a poor-fielding slugger like Dan Uggla? Because of some hoary tradition that only pitchers can be replaced with a DH? Teams could keep Jeff Francoeur’s tremendous defensive arm in the outfield for years if you paired him up with the bat of Prince Fielder. Furthermore, because the hitting Fielder and the fielding Franceour are not forced into doing things they aren’t great at, you reduce some risk of injury.

Roster sizes are not written on tablets, and can be expanded; the teams have plenty of revenue. Specialization is a trend in baseball after all, so why not separate the great defenders with rocket arms and high baseball IQ, from the natural born hitters in the early development process. We could have a whole infield of Andrelton Simmons-level defenders, and every team can put a murderers’ row up to bat. Why wouldn’t you want to see that?

Because that’s what you see in the National Football League and that means desecrating the Lord’s Day.

That was easy.


10 thoughts on “Why Only One Designated Hitter?

  1. Darryl, as a fan of the team that are the reigning champions, I feel conscience bound to weigh in on this debate.

    How about I just copy the title of the embedded link, and issue my “amen”:

    Don’t bring the designated hitter to the National League

    Michael Brendan Dougherty

    six weeks,


  2. The addition of the DH to the NL is a true cultural crisis. It’ll suck the strategy out of the game I love. We already get enough of it in interleague play. I won’t say that keeping baseball the way God intended it is sacred… but it’s darn close.

    Go Padres!


  3. AB – not only don’t bring the DH to the NL, but get rid of it in the AL, as well. It’s a bad rule because it allows pitchers to hit people without having to face a pitcher of the opposing team (who might be looking for retaliation).


  4. George, I don’t know who you are, and your avatars make me smile (note: no emoticon), but you are a prophet. Keep speaking here at oldlife, you see through what many do not (emoticon).

    Grace and peace.


  5. AB – thanks for the kind words. My “gravatar” is borrowed from an animation critter named “Krtek” that my kids grew up watching from loaned library VHS tapes. It is Czech for “little mole” and he was the invention of Zdeněk Miler who produced these cartoon stories for children in the 50’s and 60’s. If you can find these and borrow them from a local library, I’d recommend that you do so. My own granddaughter, who is not so fascinated with much on the TV these days, is mesmerized by these Krtek shorts. And you can often find them for download on the Web, too.


  6. If you go here
    And watch the two Elmer fudd cartoons that RSC posted in March, you’ll know the cartoons my kids and I have been enjoying thanks to the heidelgoofer himself. Especially the Rabbit of Seville. I will look into what you have suggested.

    Designater Hitter must die!


  7. Dude, the Padres are hardly papists. In fact Padre is just a Spanish term for a team that doesn’t win very often.


  8. For those lucky enough like me who have a wife who insists on amazon prime for shipping, Ken Burns’ Baseball streams for free, and I’ve heard great things about this one. Just look at how the first episode is described:

    Our Game TV-PG CC
    In New York City, in the 1840s, people need a diversion from the “railroad pace” at which they work and live. They find it in a game of questionable origins.

    Jed, the rejoinder to DGH is to call him a quaker:

    Main article: History of the Philadelphia Phillies
    Early history[edit]
    See also: 1915 World Series
    After being founded in 1883 as the “Quakers”, the team changed its name to the “Philadelphias”, after the convention of the times. This was soon shortened to “Phillies”.[5] “Quakers” continued to be used interchangeably with “Phillies” from 1883 until 1890, when the team officially became known as the “Phillies”. Though the Phillies moved into a permanent home at Baker Bowl in 1887,[3] they did not win their first pennant until nearly 30 years later, after the likes of standout players Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Ed Delahanty had departed. Player defections to the newly formed American League, especially to the cross-town Philadelphia Athletics, would cost the team dearly over the next several years. A bright spot came in 1915, when the Phillies won their first pennant, thanks to the pitching of Grover Cleveland Alexander and the batting prowess of Gavvy Cravath, who set what was then the modern major-league single-season record for home runs with 24.[6] Poor fiscal management after their appearance in the 1915 World Series, however, doomed the Phillies to sink back into relative obscurity; from 1918 to 1948 they only had one winning season. Though Chuck Klein won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1932 and the National League Triple Crown in 1933, the team continued to flounder at the bottom of the standings for years.[7]

    My giants, on the other hand, were founded by a tobacconist, it seems the ethos of OLTS leans the way of the 2014 World Champions IMHO (emoticon)

    Franchise history[edit]
    Early days and the John McGraw era[edit]
    Main article: History of the New York Giants (NL)
    The Giants began as the second baseball club founded by millionaire tobacconist John B. Day and veteran amateur baseball player Jim Mutrie. The Gothams, as the Giants were originally known, entered the National League in 1883, while their other club, the Metropolitans (the original Mets) played in the American Association. Nearly half of the original Gotham players were members of the disbanded Troy Trojans, whose place in the National League the Gothams inherited. While the Metropolitans were initially the more successful club, Day and Mutrie began moving star players to the Gothams, and in 1888 the team won its first National League pennant, as well as a victory over the St. Louis Browns in an early incarnation of the World Series. They repeated as champions the next year with a pennant and World Series victory over the Brooklyn “Bridegrooms”.


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