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You don’t have to love the designated hitter, but you do have to acknowledge its existence

Jan 8, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

Frank Thomas

I don’t love the DH — I have an irrational, subjective preference for pitchers batting — but I do accept that it exists. Heck, I even think — when I’m not being irrational and subjective — that it’d be better for baseball to make the DH uniform across the leagues. I’ve argued that much in the past.

But even if you’re not as willing to subvert you own religious beliefs as I am, don’t you at least have to acknowledge the DH’s existence? An existence that has lasted longer than almost everyone who votes for the Hall of Fame has been covering baseball? Not if you’re Paul Daugherty you don’t. Here’s his take on Frank Thomas’ Hall of Fame candidacy:

Thomas is close. But some of his highly impressive numbers came as a DH, and he played for a very long time. Great career? Yeah. HOF career? Eh.

He goes on:

 DH is NOT a position. It’s a hybrid creation, used by half of MLB.How many lifetime NL guys might be in the Hall had they been traded in their dotage to the American League, where all they had to do was rake?

And if me auntie was a man she’d be me uncle.

The DH was created in 1973. That was 15 years before Daugherty began covering sports in Cincinnati and certainly includes the vast majority of his baseball-watching life. It’s more established and ingrained than the ninth-inning-only closer. It has existed longer than integrated baseball had existed at the time the DH was adopted. It’s not new-fangled. It’s not experimental. And as the exploits of Paul Molitor, David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas show, it’s not some silly and obscure footnote to what happens on a baseball field.

I think one of the worst things about Hall of Fame voters is when they impose their own arbitrary standards into the analysis. But it’s way worse for them to do this by importing their own arbitrary rules to the game of baseball itself like Daugherty is here.

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. foreverchipper10 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Well, this is a logical argument. /sarcasm

    If he doesn’t want to recognize the DH since it was a creation that didn’t start at the beginning of time maybe we shouldn’t recognize some World Series Champions from teams who weren’t among the originals. I mean, The Florida Marlins in 1997 and 2003 and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 shouldn’t have those titles because they were only created in the 1990’s and were gimmicky expansion ploys.


    • foreverchipper10 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Maybe the /sarcasm isn’t in the right spot. The whole post is sarcastic except for the Moron closing. Pointing it out now to save ridicule.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Oh, Larry, you do have a problem with proper assembly.

      • foreverchipper10 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        I guess I’ve lost my posting touch since I wasn’t around much due to a crazy work schedule during the last two months or so. 😦

  2. Jonny 5 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    You can’t really vote for AL pitchers if you don’t vote for DH “players”. Both positions only do half of what they should by NL standards.

  3. braxtonrob - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    … It would be NICE if MLB would make both leagues the SAME. (I don’t even care which way they go with it anymore.)

    It’s like having the Mavs play the Heat, but when they’re in Miami, flopping is always a shooting foul.
    (Oh wait, that example isn’t hypothetical. Oh well, you get my meaning.)

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