When the American League adopted the designated hitter to start the 1973 season, it was a move designed to introduce more offense into a league that had suffered from stagnant numbers ever since the pitching mound was lowered from 15 inches to 10 inches in 1969.
The National League has steadfastly refused to adopt the DH in play between its own teams, and only utilizes the designated hitter during interleague road games and road games during the World Series.
Connie Mack, the Hall of Fame manager for the Philadelphia Athletics, originally wanted to adopt the designated hitter rule all the way back in 1906, when he got tired of watching pitchers Eddie Plank and Charles Bender consistently record automatic outs. His idea at the time however was considered “theoretically wrong.”
Nonetheless, the AL finally made its decision to adopt the rule to start the 1973 season, and they have consistently had a higher cumulative batting average over the National League ever since.
There may be nothing more frustrating than to see a National League team load the bases with the potential to put up crooked numbers, only to see the pitcher striding toward the plate.
While the DH rule can be debated ad nauseum, we’ll reserve that discussion for another article and another time. For now, we will look at the futile flailings of major league pitchers over the years and rank the 20 worst hitting pitchers of all time.
For clarification purposes, pitchers must have accumulated 200 plate appearances to have their names placed on this dubious list of honor.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.