Blomberg, Ron "Boomer" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Blomberg, Ron "Boomer"

Ronald Mark Blomberg

Nicknamed "Boomer" after hitting a tremendous home run in his third major league at-bat, this left-handed slugger will always be remembered as the major leagues' first designated hitter. He was a New York Yankee at the time, and a hero to New York's Jewish fans. Ron said of the accomplishment: "I've been a DH all my life: Designated Hebrew."

Before injuries ended his career, Blomberg was a fine professional hitter, batting an excellent .293 over his eight-year career. In 1995, Ron turned down an offer from the Yankees to become a coach, choosing instead to establish the Ron Blomberg Championship Baseball Program, a series of clinics for children between the ages of five and 17, in his hometown of Atlanta.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. August 23, 1948

Career Highlights:
Blomberg was a marvelous all-around athlete in high school (he lettered in basketball, baseball, and track), who spurned numerous college basketball scholarships to play baseball. On June 7, 1967, Blomberg was the first overall pick in the Major League Draft. Selected by the New York Yankees, Ron appeared in four games in 1969 before being called up for good in 1971.

A tremendous left-handed batter who was awkward in the field, Ron split time between first base and the outfield until 1973. On April 6 of that year, Blomberg became the first official DH when he faced Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox; Ron walked with the bases loaded in that first at-bat. Blomberg hit over .300 in four seasons: .500 in 1969 (in only four games), .322 in 1971, .329 in 1973, and .311 in 1974.

Blomberg then became an outstanding pinch-hitter for the Yankees, batting .333 in 1972 and again in 1973, .500 in 1974, and .400 in 1975. He ended his career with the Chicago White Sox in 1978. Two of his teammates on that squad were Jewish hurlers: rookie pitcher Ross Baumgarten and future Cy Young winner Steve Stone.

Career Dates:
Blomberg played for the New York Yankees in 1969 (for four games); 1971-76, and the Chicago White Sox in 1978.

Primarily Designated Hitter and first base. Most of his time at first base was spent prior to the adoption of the Designated Hitter by the American League. He also played 79 games in the outfield.

Physical description:
6'1 1/2", 195 pounds
Bats left, throws right

Career Statistics:
Games: 461
Batting Avg.: .293
Slugging Avg.: .473

At-bats: 1333
Hits: 391
Doubles: 67
Triples: 8

Home Runs: 52
Home Run %: 3.9
Runs: 184
RBI: 224

BB: 140
Strike Outs: 134
Stolen Bases: 6

Pinch Hitting
At-bats: 65
Hits: 19

Fielding Statistics
Put-outs: 1374
Assists: 66
Errors: 25
Double-plays: 129

Total Chances per Game: 3.7
Fielding Avg: .983

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Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)