The Elimination of the Designated Hitter in Baseball

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The Elimination of the Designated Hitter in Baseball

Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.

At least it used to be that way until Ron Blomberg became the major league's first designated hitter in 1973. Now, for a DH, baseball has become even simpler: You eat some cheese fries. You hit the ball. You eat some more cheese fries.

Fortunately, this less-than-strenuous regimen might not last much longer. Baseball team owners have notified the players' union of the possibility the DH will not exist in 1999. The DH is a part of playing rules, and owners said they can therefore phase it out without first receiving approval from the players' union.

Bad news for players, but good news for baseball.

Players want to keep the DH for obvious reasons. First, the rule is responsible for the employment of 14 players - one for each American League team - and there's little chance Donald Fehr and the players' union willingly would sacrifice those jobs.

The rule allows crusty veterans, such as Chili Davis and Cecil Fielder, to earn between $3 millio...

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