Ron Blomberg

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.