How and Why the DH affected the game

…During the 1950’s and 60’s while sitting in class, I loved sitting with my pocket radio and small cream colored earphone wrapped under my white shirt and tie listening to Mel Allen’s call of a game. ” a letter high fastball, from Turley, strike three swinging and That’s Turley 7th strike-out in six innings”…
…Baseball and the letter high fast ball, they were common, often referred to as the “rising fastball” it was strength against strength. Through the 60’s something happen to the old games strength. Pitchers began to get better at the game then the hitters were, or at least it appeared that way. So the American League decided to change the rules and alter the format to improve run production.
….It’s all a great story, but sadly it excapes the real truth. Baseball had lost something special in 1965. It had lost the greatest drawing card it ever had, the Yankees, were feared no more. As the Yankees fell off to the basement so did attendence in the American League. Without the great drawing card of the Yankees, American League teams already water down by the expansion of 61 were now faced with a second league expansion, lower attendence numbers , no production numbers, missing superstars and in deep fiancial trouble.
…The American League sought rules changes, lowering the mound ten inches but they wanted and needed more. They needed run production. History had taught everyone that “Ruth” had changed the game. What the owners needed was each to have their own little “Ruth” something that could score runs, drive runs in, and hit Home Runs. The DH became the next “immatation Babe”.
…What really went on in the smokey room full of owners fighting over the issues wasn’t about the game of baseball, but how it affected the fiancial end of their Game. The Dodgers led the way in backroom deals, getting the LA tag off the Angles for their part in the vote. This was maybe Baseball “darkest day” until that point. In 1919 it was a handfull of players, now it was more then handfull of owners who would change the very foundation of the game for “profit”.
…Of course in the years that followed , the DH took on a life of it’s own and with a union to protect these payers now the game had to accept the fact, that players who were no longer capable of playing the game, now had jobs, they were DH”s. Some of them couldn’t run, some others could field but all could hit.
….Baseball is going through a recovery process today. One even worse ten the effect the DH had on the game. Now is the time I believe to review those mistakes, bring them up put them on the table, open the history books and look at the mess the DH help to create. Owners and Union personal alike, must realize today the great error in watering down the game. God Bless and Play Ball.


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