John Heydler
Birthdate 7/10/1869
Death Date 4/18/1956
Debut Year 1895
Year of Induction
Teams National League
Positions League President, Umpire

NL President John Heydler was instrumental in the acceptance of ERA & RBI as statistics; he was also an early advocate of the designated hitter.

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John Heydler pushed the NL to adopt the designated hitter in 1928

John Heydler pushed the NL to adopt the designated hitter in 1928

A National League umpire from 1895-1898, John Heydler would become better known in his role as the league’s president in 1909 and again from 1918-1934. After retiring from umpiring, Heydler was hired by NL president Harry Pulliam as his private secretary. One of his chief duties in that role
John Heydler pushed MLB to accept the RBI as an official statistic

John Heydler pushed MLB to accept the RBI as an official statistic

Ernest Lanigan is a forgotten contributor baseball history. A newspaperman, official scorer, and executive for the minor leagues and the Hall of Fame, Lanigan is largely responsibly for getting the RBI accepted as an official statistic. Though he recorded it for quite a few years before the statisti

A Story about John Heydler

NL owners supported the designated hitter in 1928

December 11th, 2016 Leave a comment

How times have changed. Today the National League remains one of few leagues above the high school level not to employ the designated hitter rule. The Senior Circuit continues to resist the rule that the AL has embraced for more than four decades. That wasn’t always the case. NL owners approve the “ten-man team rule” National League president John Heydler proposed the DH at the Winter Meetings on December 11, 1928. It was originally referred to as the “Ten-Man Team Rule”. Heydler’s motivations seem clear. He was looking to capture some of the excitement the homer-happy AL harnessed with the emergence of Babe Ruth. From 1920-1928 the Bambino was a one-man wrecking crew. The Babe had seven seasons with 40 or more homers, including four of 50 or more, and one with 60. During the same span Heydler’s league had only two 40-homer seasons. Totals of 15, 21, 23, and 27 led NL in the 20’s. While the NL couldn’t match the AL in star power, Heydler felt keeping hurlers on the hill and out of the batters box might generate more offense. “Pitchers are absolutely useless as batters nowadays,” Heydler was quoted as saying in the Chicago papers. “The […]

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