First enacted in 1973, the designated hitter has come to play a prominent role within the sport of baseball over the past few decades. Because the position is only available in the American League, it gives baseball memorabilia collectors not only another area of interest to focus on, but another way to enjoy collecting in general as well. Arguments have been raging back and forth as to whether there should even be a designated hitter or if it should be implemented in both leagues, but regardless it is likely here to stay for a significant amount of time. What follows are some of the most accomplished designated hitters to have played the game to this point.
One of the more prevalent power hitters of the modern era, Thome will likely go down as one of the best designated hitters of all time as well. Having played over 20 years in Major League Baseball, Jim racked up over 600 home runs, 1,600 RBIs and well over 2,000 hits to go with a .276 average as well. He was selected to five All Star games over the course of his career and should easily make it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, making Thome appealing to baseball memorabilia collectors.
Frank Thomas was one of the giants of the game during the modern era as well, but what separates him from someone like Thome was his ability to hit for average as well as power. Frank hit over 520 home runs for his career to go with a sparkling .301 average along with over 2,400 hits as well. Thomas was in his prime for the Chicago White Sox during the early 1990’s when he won the AL MVP award in 1993 and 1994, and his memorabilia is still highly collectible today.
Martinez was most known for his role as a designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners during his nearly 20 year career. Edgar hit over .310 for his career with nearly 2,300 hits and over 300 home runs as well, and went to the All Star game on seven occasions. One of the most defining aspects of his time in Major League Baseball is that the best designated hitter award for each year is named in his honor with the Edgar Martinez Award. Unfortunately Martinez has not been elected into the Hall of Fame yet, but that should not take away from his memorabilia value.
Unlike many designated hitters these days who mostly hit for power with a little bit of average as well, Paul Molitor mostly hit for average and had tremendous speed on the basepaths. Molitor had a .306 average for his career along with over 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases. He was selected to seven All Star games and won the Silver Slugger award on four different occasions as well. Paul was elected in to the Hall of Fame in 2004 with over 85% of the vote and remains popular among memorabilia aficionados.