Baseball Bats

March 13, 1973

Mild-mannered Eddie Kasko was not known to slip into many Billy-Martin-Earl Weaver type meltdowns. But before a Red Sox exhibition game the Phillies, as umpire Bill Deegan ordered him to fill out another lineup card, he may have been tempted.

With the Red Sox and Phillies playing at Chain ‘O Lakes Park in Winter Haven, the Red Sox spring home, Kasko submitted a lineup that included Orlando Cepeda as his designated hitter.

It was the first year of the DH rule. Deegan simply followed the orders set forth by American League President Joe Cronin: When playing NL teams, the DH should not be used.

After the game, American League umpire supervisor John Stevens was asked about the rule and sent Kasko’s irritation through the roof, answering affirmatively when asked if Cepeda could have been used as the DH.

“Does anyone know what’s going on,” Kasko growled, according to the Boston Globe.

“It just doesn’t make any (bleeping) sense. We’re stuck with this (bleeping) rule and we can’t use it.”

Baseball has always had some communication problems starting at the top of the bureaucratic pecking order.

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