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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOW YOU KNOW

March 13, 1997|HOUSTON MITCHELL

The designated hitter controversy has gained more prominence this season with the advent of interleague play. The American League began using the designated hitter in 1973, but the National League has refused to implement the idea. However, that was not always the case.

One year, at the annual major league meetings, National League President John Heydler proposed what he called a "designated hitter," a 10th player who would bat in place of the pitcher. Heydler argued that it would speed up the game and eliminate weak-hitting pitchers. The National League voted unanimously to approve the idea. The American League voted against it. Rather than having different rules for each league, the National League abandoned the plan.

The year?

1928.

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