40 years ago today the Brewers played their last American League game before the institution of the DH.
On this day in 1972 the Brewers beat the Yankees 1-0 in New York on the season's final day. The game's lone run scored in the fourth inning when Dave May doubled and scored on John Briggs' sac fly.
The real hero of the day, however, was pitcher Jim Lonborg. He pitched a complete game three-hit shutout. He's also the reason this game is historically notable, as he went 0-for-3 and was the last Brewer starting pitcher to bat in a game for 25 years.
Starting on Opening Day in 1973 the American League adopted the designated hitter rule. It was probably a welcome development for the Brewers, whose pitchers hit .140/.178/.151 in the last season before the change. The team's pinch hitters didn't fare much better in 1972, hitting .216/.311/.266.
On April 6, 1973 Ollie Brown became the first DH in franchise history. The next Brewer starting pitcher to bat in a game was Jeff D'Amico, who did it against the Cubs in interleague play in 1997.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2006-08 Brewer Tony Gwynn Jr., who turns 30.
- 1992 Brewer Bruce Ruffin, who turns 49.
- 1977-80 Brewer Lary Sorensen, who turns 57.
- Monches, Wisconsin native and Marquette alum Ralph Shinners, who would have turned 117. Shinners played three major league seasons between 1922-25 as a member of the Giants and Cardinals.
(h/t Chris Jaffe for the note on Lonborg)