Wednesday, April 06, 2005
April 6th, 1973
Ron Blomberg Draws Walk
Here's a bar bet I guarantee you will win ninety-five percent of the time, but might also get you smacked fifty percent of time: who was the first DH to have an at-bat in an official regular season game? Now, the answer most people will give you is Ron Blomberg. Blomberg, a Yankee, came to the plate against the Red Sox on Opening Day 1973 and faced Luis Tiant with the bases loaded. He drew a walk, driving in a run, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead, in a game they would go on to lose 15-5 after Mel Stottlemyre got creamed. The answer to the bar bet question however, is the Red Sox Orlando Cepeda, who struck out in the top of the second inning.
The reason you win the bet, of course, is also the reason you're likely to get smacked, it’s all a matter of semantics and rules. Although Blomberg was the first man to come to the plate as a DH, by drawing a walk Blomberg was credited not with an at-bat, but rather with a plate appearance. It was not until Cepeda struck out that an actual at-bat was recorded by a DH. So next time you're a little short of funds at your favorite sports bar, ask 'em who the first DH to have an at-bat was. Just watch out for that left hook.