Sez John Donovan of

>> Tuesday

Offering justification for why the AL has won interleague play the last few years, most of the last World Series, as well as their current streak of All-Star wins...

"We can go back and forth with the reasons that the AL is a better league, or we can probably boil all the interleague debate down into one tradition-shaking fact: The designated hitter makes AL lineups deeper and more dangerous, and that probably makes the league's pitchers tougher."


OK, maybe Donovan's right...maybe. But if his diagnosis is correct, then I'd have to understand this is a fairly recent development. Before the AL's recent run of success in the All-Star game, the NL had won 8 of 12 All-Star games in AL ballparks since the DH was adopted in 1973 ('73, '75, '77, '79, '81, '85, '87, and '95). The All-Star games in NL parks would not feature a designated hitter, so at least in practice, the DH could not help the AL in those games.

However, even when all parks are taken into consideration, in 16 out of 24 All-Star games from the time the DH was adopted in 1973 to 1997, the DH failed to help the AL's "deeper, tougher, more dangerous" All-Star Lineup win the All-Star game. If we follow Donovan's conclusion, we can only assume that the DH started making the AL "tougher and more dangerous" nearly a generation after it was adopted , and even then, has barely brought the AL above .500 (17-16-1 since 1973) during that time span.

Am I missing something here?

Does the AL have the better players these days? Sure, but don't chalk their recent All-Star dominance up to the adoption of the DH over 30 years ago, because the scores don't support that conclusion.


Vinnie 3:56 PM  

Theoretically, the AL would have a few more talented offensive players than the NL because AL teams build teams for nine regulars rather than eight. I suppose one could argue that AL teams hadn't fully realized the advantage this posed during those first few years because many teams hadn't yet built for a DH but simply stuck in whomever they had to fill that extra spot.

Having said that--if that's even the least bit valid--ASG wins might be the dumbest way to actually prove this theory, especially with thousands of interleague games to use as a sample.

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