1928 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The designated hitter, that polarizing rule one league loves and the other hates, was initially suggested on this date in 1928, but the tables were most distinctly turned.
NL president John Heydler pushed the idea at the 1928 winter meetings in Chicago because, “the public has tired of the endless shifts in lineups due to the inability of pitchers to hit.”
American League owners got a big laugh from the idea suggested by the president of the National League – yes, the National League! “After laughing themselves sick,” Edward Burns wrote in the next day’s Chicago Daily Tribune, “the magnates went on record as being officially against the idea.” The idea was the designated hitter, the “DH,” although at the time it was referred to as the “Ten-Man Team” rule.
NL president John Heydler pushed the idea at the 1928 winter meetings in Chicago because, “the public has tired of the endless shifts in lineups due to the inability of pitchers to hit.” Heydler went on to tell his fellow owners, “The average pitcher not only is helpless at bat, but when they happen to get to base they are not inclined to run. They want to conserve their energy for pitching purposes.”
How ironic that 45 years later, in 1973, the American League would enact the DH and the National League would want nothing to do with it.
“Magnates give Heydler idea a great big laugh,” by Edward Burns, Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 13, 1928
“Heydler tells details of ‘Ten Man Team’ idea,” by Irving Vaughan, Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 15, 1928