To DH or not to DH in the NL? Part 43

Former Montreal Expo Cliff Floyd is in favour of conformity in both leagues when it comes to the subject of the DH.

Former Montreal Expo Cliff Floyd is in favour of conformity in both leagues when it comes to the subject of the DH.

Story from 2012 looked at idea of DH in NL

Now that there is talk the DH rule might be implemented in the National League in 2017, Danny Gallagher re-posts a story he wrote in 2012 about that possibility.

By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

It’s conjecture at this point but when 2013 rolls around, it’s conceivable that the DH rule might be up and running in the National League.

Come again? Yes, it might be instituted 40 years after American League owners decided that the rule would be applied in their league back in 1973.

“The DH in both leagues and throughout baseball is on the way. I think it will happen but 2013? I am not sure,’’ said Tom Trebelhorn, a former manager with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. “But we now have two generations of baseball fans who have grown up with the DH and it has been in all of the rookie and class A leagues for several decades.

“The baseball purists are fewer in number and diminishing so it will happen. I know it would make NL practices easier not having batting practice/bunting practice/base running practice, etc. for the 12 or 13 pitchers on the team as well as the time needed in spring training for the 30-plus pitchers in camp.’’

Although former major-leaguer Cliff Floyd has no knowledge that NL owners may be discussing the DH idea, he’s all in favour of conformity in both leagues.

“That they might be thinking of this is positive,’’ Floyd said in a interview. “It goes to show you that baseball is getting progressive. Until recently, baseball wasn’t that innovative. Just think if you had the DH in both leagues.’’

The recent move by baseball to make it more interesting this season for teams to obtain a wild card berth certainly caught the attention of Floyd, the former Expo, who also played for a number of other teams. Floyd remembers, too, that the owners voted in 2010 to have the DH rule in effect at each all-star game with the process beginning last year.

To take the bat out of the pitcher’s hand would be a mammoth move for the NL. It would create more offence because most pitchers in the majors don’t hit worth a lick so their at-bat is really a wasted one, an easy out in the majority of cases, many by strikeout.

On the other hand, it’s conceivable that the AL owners may vote to drop the DH so that there is conformity in both leagues. Wouldn’t it be something if that happened if Blue Jays pitchers, for example, had to bat for themselves?

“I like the National League style,’’ offered former Mets/White Sox manager Jerry Manuel, a coach for many years with the Montreal Expos. “I like the strategy with the pitcher in the lineup. We’re losing our marquee players like Albert Pujols to the American League. They can get longer contracts in the AL because they have the DH.’’

But back to Trebelhorn, who actually promotes the concept of a DPH, meaning designated pinch hitter.

“This player is listed 10th on a lineup card and can pinch hit for anyone in the lineup from the pitcher through the right fielder,’’ Trebelhorn explained. “He could be used four times a game but only once in any inning. After four at-bats, the DPH would be unavailable and traditional baseball rules would apply with the pitcher hitting in the designated spot in the lineup.

“The DPH would generate a new era of second guessing as to strategy - when to use for whom, defensive players in the lineup, etc. It will never happen but I find it a compromise of the rules as well as an offensive boost while recognizing a defensive aspect and the value of the solid glove man.’’
 

 

 

 

 

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com