Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department



Tollison, Robert

Committee Member

Sauer , Raymond

Committee Member

Maloney , Michael


In 1973, team owners in Major League Baseball's American League voted in favor of introducing the designated hitter into their offensive lineups. The National League owners voted against such a rule change that year and since on several different occurrences. Baseball fans, sportswriters, players, owners, economists and others have weighed in on the impact of the designated hitter rule change on Major League Baseball. Chapter One of this paper reviews recent published writings by economists on the impact of the designated hitter. Team owners gave several reasons for advocating the dramatic designated rule change in the American League. Chapter Two considers each of these reasons and compares them against actual statistical data to determine accuracy of team owner foresight. In other words, after 36 seasons of the designated hitter, did American League owners' landmark decision achieve its intended goals? Chapter Three takes the previous chapter arguments and tests several variables that resulted from the DH ruling against attendance. Chapter Four suggests several points of interest that appear to be unresolved in the existing economic DH literature. This paper considers the impact of the DH on offense, defense and attendance in Major League Baseball. In the end, attendance gains appear to strengthen the argument that American League owners were acting rationally when they instituted the DH rule change.