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Ron Blomberg

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Ronald Mark Blomberg (born August 23, 1948, in Atlanta, Georgia), nicknamed Boomer, is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter, first baseman, and right fielder. Along with being the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history, he played for the New York Yankees (1969, 1971-76) and Chicago White Sox (1978), and he is currently the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League.

He batted left-handed, and threw right-handed.

In his 8-season career, Blomberg compiled a .293 batting average (391-for-1,333) with 52 home runs, 224 RBIs, 184 runs, 67 doubles, and 8 triples in 461 games. He added a .360 on base percentage and a .473 slugging average. For his career, he hit .304 against right-handers, and .304 with 2 out and runners in scoring position, as well as .325 when the score was tied.[1]

High schoolEdit

Blomberg attended Druid Hills High School and graduated from it in 1967. There he was not only a star baseball player, but also an all-star in both football and basketball. No other athlete has been chosen to the Parade All-America teams in football, basketball, and baseball.[2]

He received 125 basketball scholarship offers, and John Wooden, the basketball coach at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), paid him a recruiting visit. Roger Couch, Blomberg's basketball coach, said: "Blomberg is the finest basketball player I ever saw — high school or college."[3]

He also received 100 football scholarship offers.

Minor league careerEdit

Blomberg played in the minor leagues from 1967-71. In 1971 he was hitting .326 with a .565 slugging percentage for the Yankees AAA team when the Yankees called him up to the major leagues.

Major league careerEdit

New York Yankees (1969-76)Edit

A perennial prospect for most of his career, Blomberg was selected by the Yankees in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 1967 amateur draft, and signed for $75,000. He made his major league debut on September 10, 1969. However, he did not ultimately live up to the Yankees' great expectations for him, as he was notoriously injury-prone. After going 3-for-6 in his first season, Blomberg was out in 1970. Things were not much better in the years to come. In 1971, the Yankees called him up from their Triple A team, where he was hitting .326 with a .565 slugging percentage. He then hit .322 for the parent club, in 199 at-bats. In 1972, he hit a career-high 14 home runs and 22 doubles in 299 at-bats. In 1973, he was batting over .400 late into the season, and the Yankees were in first place. During his hot streak, Blomberg made the covers of Sports Illustrated, Sport, and The Sporting News. The team slumped in the second half, but Blomberg finished with a healthy .329 average, .395 OBP, and .498 SP in 301 at-bats. He hit .351 with runners in scoring position.

In 1974 he hit .311, and .338 with runners in scoring position. After this, his career was then cut short by shoulder and knee injuries. A 1975 injury forced him to miss the entire 1976 season. In the spring of 1977, Blomberg appeared ready to make the team again, but another injury, from running into the outfield wall, forced him to miss another year. "I had four knee and two shoulder injuries," he said. Still, I gave 120 percent. I lived in Riverdale, and when I was injured, people came up to me and waved to me and hugged me."[4][5]

Out in 1977, he was granted free agency at the end of the season.

Chicago White Sox (1978)Edit

He played his final game for the White Sox on October 1, 1978.

First Designated HitterEdit

Blomberg's place in baseball history is assured, as he has the distinction of being the first major leaguer to play a game as a designated hitter. On April 6, 1973 at Fenway Park, he was walked by Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance of the game.

HonorsEdit

Blomberg was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[6]

Managing careerEdit

Blomberg is managing the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the 2007 inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League.[1] He skippered his team to a league-leading 29-12 (.707) regular season won-lost record, as well as to the IBL Championship. This was Blomberg's first crack at managing, after passing up the Yankee's request that he manage in their minor system.[7]

ScoutingEdit

Blomberg is a Yankee scout in the Atlanta area.

WritingEdit

In April 2006, Blomberg's biography, Designated Hebrew: the Ron Blomberg Story[8] was released by Sports Publishing. It was co-written by Dan Schlossberg, the author of over 30 baseball books, including The Baseball Catalog, and host of the syndicated radio show, BallTalk. The book discusses Blomberg's life leading up to his major league career, his playing days as a Yankee, and his Jewish heritage.

As of December 2006 it is in its fourth printing.[9]

Another book, a cookbook, is also in the works.

Summer campEdit

Blomberg has been running a summer baseball camp for kids at the New Jersey Y Camps since 2006.

QuotationEdit

  • He was the nation's and the Yankees' first draft pick in 1967. A powerful left-handed hitter, and terrible fielder, on Opening Day, 1973, he became baseball's first designated hitter. Blomberg commented: "I've been a DH all my life: Designated Hebrew." He has just published an autobiography, Designated Hebrew, which he is promoting.[10]

TriviaEdit

  • Accused of being a Designated Hypochondriac, the perennial prospect spent years sidelined with a variety of muscle injuries.
  • Even when he was healthy, he was seldom permitted to face left-handed pitching.
  • He had more walks than strikeouts in his career.
  • He wore number 12 as the first ever designated hitter, a uniform number that has also been worn with the Yankees by Gil McDougald, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens (briefly in 1999, before deciding it was bad luck, and Billy Martin (as a rookie).
  • Blomberg twice was voted the most popular person in New York, edging out Joe Namath, the pride of the Jets.[11]
  • Blomberg's name is pronounced "Bloomberg," like Michael Bloomberg, the NYC mayor.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Steve Chilcott
First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
1967
Succeeded by:
Tim Foli

Template:MLB Number One Draft Picks

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