The DH is coming to both leagues for at least this MLB season, but famous slugger Mark McGwire is against the concept.
As part of MLB’s plan to play a truncated 2020 season, the universal DH is coming. Whether it sticks beyond that is a question, with a strong case for it given how few pitchers are competent with a bat in their hands. But Mark McGwire, for one, is against the universal DH.
In comments to TMZ, McGwire stated his case against the use of the DH in both leagues.
“The game of baseball is played with the pitcher hitting. That’s strategy. DH in both league there’s no strategy. And I played 12-plus years for the Oakland A’s. I love the National League.”
“If you can’t put on a glove and go out and play defense,” McGwire said, “you shouldn’t be playing the game!”
As he said, McGwire spent a big chunk of his career with the Oakland A’s in the American League. He won one Gold Glove for his work at first base (1990), and played 1,763 games (1,719 starts) at the position in his career. Despite playing 11-plus seasons in the American League (1,329 games), he started just 34 games as a DH. Even in the 1993, 1994 and 1995 seasons with the A’s when injuries hampered him, if McGwire was able to be in the lineup he was pretty much always playing first base as well. So his assertion of “if you can’t put on a glove” are reflected by his own career.
Being able to DH has extended a lot of careers, and in some cases allowed a Hall of Fame resume to be built. McGwire of course finished his career in the National League with the St. Louis Cardinals, but even when it was an option to get his bat in the lineup for most of his career he was rarely a DH.