Ron Blomberg Explained

Ron Blomberg
Position:First baseman / Designated hitter
Born:23 August 1948
Debutdate:September 10
Debutteam:New York Yankees
Finaldate:October 1
Finalteam:Chicago White Sox
Stat1label:Batting average
Stat2label:Home Runs
Teams:As Player

As Manager

  • First designated hitter in Major League Baseball history

Ronald Mark Blomberg (born August 23, 1948, in Atlanta, Georgia), nicknamed Boomer, is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter, first baseman, and right fielder. Along with being the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history, he played for the New York Yankees (1969, 1971-76) and Chicago White Sox (1978), and he was the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League (2007).

He batted left-handed, and threw right-handed.

In his 8-season career, Blomberg compiled a .293 batting average (391-for-1,333) with 52 home runs, 224 RBIs, 184 runs, 67 doubles, and 8 triples in 461 games. He added a .360 on base percentage and a .473 slugging average. For his career, he hit .304 against right-handers, and .304 with 2 out and runners in scoring position, as well as .325 when the score was tied.[1]

High school

Blomberg attended Druid Hills High School and graduated from it in 1967. There he was not only a star baseball player, but also an all-star in both football and basketball. No other athlete has been chosen to the Parade All-America teams in football, basketball, and baseball.[2]

He received 125 basketball scholarship offers, and John Wooden, the basketball coach at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), paid him a recruiting visit. Roger Couch, Blomberg's basketball coach, said: "Blomberg is the finest basketball player I ever saw — high school or college."[3] He also received 100 football scholarship offers.

Minor league career

Blomberg played in the minor leagues from 1967-71. In 1971 he was hitting .326 with a .565 slugging percentage for the Yankees AAA team when the Yankees called him up to the major leagues.

Major league career

New York Yankees (1969-76)

A perennial prospect for most of his career, Blomberg was selected by the Yankees in the 1st round (1st pick) of the amateur draft, and signed for $75,000. He made his major league debut on September 10, 1969. However, he did not ultimately live up to the Yankees' great expectations for him, as he was notoriously injury-prone. After going 3-for-6 in his first season, Blomberg was out in 1970. Things were not much better in the years to come. In 1971, the Yankees called him up from their Triple A team, where he was hitting .326 with a .565 slugging percentage. He then hit .322 for the parent club, in 199 at-bats. In 1972, he hit a career-high 14 home runs and 22 doubles in 299 at-bats. In 1973, he was batting over .400 late into the season, and the Yankees were in first place. During his hot streak, Blomberg made the covers of Sports Illustrated, Sport, and The Sporting News. The team slumped in the second half, but Blomberg finished with a healthy .329 average, .395 OBP, and .498 SP in 301 at-bats. He hit .351 with runners in scoring position.

In 1974 he hit .311, and .338 with runners in scoring position. After this, his career was then cut short by shoulder and knee injuries. A 1975 injury forced him to miss the entire 1976 season. In the spring of 1977, Blomberg appeared ready to make the team again, but another injury, from running into the outfield wall, forced him to miss another year. "I had four knee and two shoulder injuries," he said. Still, I gave 120 percent. I lived in Riverdale, and when I was injured, people came up to me and waved to me and hugged me."[4] [5]

Out in 1977, he was granted free agency at the end of the season.

Chicago White Sox (1978)

He played his final game for the White Sox on October 1, .

First Designated Hitter

Blomberg's place in baseball history is assured, as he has the distinction of being the first major leaguer to play a game as a designated hitter. On April 6, at Fenway Park, he was walked by Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance of the game.


Blomberg was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[6]

In 2007 Blomberg received the city of Atlanta’s prestigious Phoenix Award from Mayor Shirley Franklin for his outstanding service and achievements, both as a professional athlete and citizen through his charitable works in Atlanta and throughout the country.

Managing career

Blomberg managed the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the 2007 inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League. He skippered his team to a league-leading 29-12 (.707) regular season won-lost record, as well as to the IBL Championship. This was Blomberg's first crack at managing, after passing up the Yankee's request that he manage in their minor system.[7]

Being in Israel, Blomberg said, “was the greatest thing — just one notch below playing for the Yankees.” In the league they were obliged to have at least two Jewish players on each team, and Blomberg had two Orthodox Israelis on his team. When they asked for time out to say Minha, he was taken aback. Then he saw the crowd joining them to daven behind the food concession. “It was the greatest rush of my life,” he said. “I was in the Holy Land, near King Solomon’s tomb]. I knew I was protected.” But when the team still lost the game, he demanded: “You said your prayers — so what happened?”


Blomberg is a Yankee scout in the Atlanta area.


In April 2006, Blomberg's biography, Designated Hebrew: the Ron Blomberg Story[8] was released by Sports Publishing. It was co-written by Dan Schlossberg, the author of over 30 baseball books, including The Baseball Catalog, and host of the syndicated radio show, BallTalk. The book discusses Blomberg's life leading up to his major league career, his playing days as a Yankee, and his Jewish heritage.

As of December 2006 it is in its fourth printing.[4]

Another book, a cookbook, is also in the works.

Summer camp

Blomberg has been running a summer baseball camp for kids at the New Jersey Y Camps since 2006.


After his retirement from baseball in 1978, Blomberg worked with numerous charitable organizations, most recently the Israel Cancer Research Fund, where he serves as honorary chairman and spokesperson.


Jewish heritage

Blomberg doted on the attention he received in New York because he was Jewish: "To be able to play in front of 8 million Jews! Can’t beat it. I lit everyone’s candles for every bar mitzvah in the city. It was like I was related to everyone. They named a sandwich after me at the Stage Deli!"


External links

Notes and References

  1. Ron Blomberg Career Batting Splits - Baseball-Reference PI
  4. Ron Blomberg Recalls New York Days
  5. Jacobson, Mark. "Joltin' Jew", New York (magazine), April 17, 2006. Accessed May 3, 2008. "I lived in Riverdale, in the same building with Willie Mays."
  7. Baseball / IBL / Baseball, kosher-style - Haaretz - Israel News
  8. Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story: Ron Blomberg, Dan Schlossberg: Books