Sunday, February 14, 2010

1976 Topps #354 - Ron Blomberg

  • Ron Blomberg was the first pick in the 1967 draft. Blomberg was actively recruited to play college basketball (125 scholarship offers) and college football (100 scholarship offers). He was chosen by the New York Yankees and signed for $75,000. Ron is best known for being baseball's first designated hitter. Here is a recent blog entry by Hand Collated about the event.

  • Blomberg played in the minors from 1967 to 1971. In 1969 Ron got into four September games for the Yankees and went 3 for 6. He missed part of the 1970 season due to injury. After batting .326 in 48 games Ron was brought up to the Yankees for good in 1971. Blomberg played in the outfield for the Yankees in 1971 and he batted .322 with 7 HR and 31 RBI in 64 games.

  • Ron played first base for the Yankees in 1972. In 107 games he batted .268 with 14 HR and 49 RBI. The American League adopted the designated hitter for the 1973 season. Ron was the first DH in baseball (he walked off of Luis Tiant on April 6). Ron Blomberg: The Game I'll Never Forget - Baseball Digest February 1994. Ron spent most of the beginning of the season playing first base and he was batting .400 as late as June 28 before tailing off at the end of the season. He actually started to tail off when he became the full-time DH. Blomberg ended up batting .329 with 12 HR and 57 RBI in 100 games.

  • The 1974 season was Ron's last full season. He batted .311 with 10 HR and 48 RBI in 264 at bats. Blomberg rarely batted against left-handed pitchers. In 1975 Ron was injured a lot and missed much of the season. In 34 games Blomberg batted .255 with 4 HR and 17 RBI. He was hitless in two at bats in 1976. Ron looked like he was going to make a comeback for the Yankees in 1977 but he ran into an outfield wall in spring training and ended up missing the season.

  • After the 1977 season the Yankees allowed Ron to leave as a free agent. He signed with the Chicago White Sox but was not very successful in Chicago. Blomberg batted .231 with 5 HR and 22 RBI in 61 games. The White Sox released Ron during spring training in 1978 and he retired.

  • After his retirement from baseball Ron did some scouting and did a lot of charity work in the Atlanta area (his hometown). In 2006 Ron wrote Designated Hebrew: the Ron Blomberg Story. Blomberg also managed in the Israel Baseball League in 2007.

  • Liked to face: Dick Tidrow (.500 in 22 AB); Stan Bahnsen (.500 in 26 AB); Dick Drago (.375 in 24 AB)
  • Hated to face: Pete Broberg (.133 in 15 AB); Jim Colborn (.160 in 25 AB); Marty Pattin (.174 in 23 AB)

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