DH-1B-OF 1969, 71-76, 78 Yankees , White Sox
The strapping, ebullient Southerner was the nation's and the Yankees' first draft
pick in 1967. A powerful lefthanded hitter and terrible fielder, on Opening Day,
1973 he became baseball's first designated hitter; the irrepressible Blomberg commented:
"I've been a DH all my life: Designated Hebrew." Accused of being a Designated Hypochondriac,
the perennial prospect spent months, and years sidelined with a variety of muscle
injuries. Even when he was healthy, he was seldom permitted to face lefthanded pitching.
In 1973 he hit a career-high .329 while playing in 100 games -- for him, a full season.
|FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY|
|» June 7, 1967:
The last-place Yankees have the first pick in the free-agent draft and use it to take Ron Blomberg. With the next pick, the Cubs tap SS Terry Hughes, who will have just 86 ML at bats. All 20 first-round picks are high school players, and only 11 will eventually reach the major leagues, including John Mayberry (#6, Astros), Jon Matlack (Mets), Wayne Simpson (#8, Reds), Ted Simmons (#10, Cards), and Bobby Grich (#20, Orioles). The O's take Don Baylor with their 2nd pick, then in the secondary phase, select P Mike Adamson. Adamson will leap directly to the O's, debuting July 1, the first player in draft history to bypass the minors. Other selections today include Dusty Baker (26th round, Braves), Matlack (1st round, Mets), Steve Yeager (3rd round, Dodgers) and Richie Zisk (3rd round, Pirates), The Phils strike out as none of their picks will reach the majors.
» April 6, 1973: At Fenway Park, the first ball is thrown out by Ed Folger, a Red Sox farm hand who had his legs amputated last September following a farm accident. Then Yankee Ron Blomberg, facing Boston's Luis Tiant, becomes the first official DH in the ML. Blomberg walks with the bases loaded and winds up 1-for-3 in the 15–5 loss to the Red Sox. Sox DH Orlando Cepeda goes 0-for-6, but Carlton Fisk strokes two homers, one a grand slam, in the 20-hit Boston assault. Doug Griffith has four hits for Boston, which overcomes a 3–0 by scoring eight runs to chase Stottlemyre by the 3rd inning. The Yanks have eight hits off Tiant, five by the Alou brothers—Matty and Felipe.
» April 7, 1978:
At Comiskey Park, 50,754 watch as the White Sox edge the Red Sox, 6–5, on Wayne Nordhagen's bloop double in the last of the 9th. Dick Drago, in relief of Mike Torrez, takes the loss, after allowing a game tying homer to Ron Blomberg and single to Chet Lemon. Larrin LeGrow is the winner. Carl Yastrzemski has two singles, the 11th straight opener he has had a hit.