As much as we might adore the idea of Zack Greinke taking more pinch-hit at-bats in the World Series, Kendall Graveman might be the last pitcher to hit with the National League rule.
The Houston Astros moved on from the pitcher hitting in 2013 while switching leagues, and it was only fitting that they possibly had the final pitcher hitting under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A new CBA opens this offseason, and one proposal is to have the universal designated hitter.
Kendall Graveman might’ve made history at the plate, and he didn’t swing.
Shohei Ohtani will continue his two-way campaign for years to come, so he would obviously be an exclusion to this narrative. But on the other hand, Graveman, who was 0-for-5 at the plate in his career, struck out looking on six pitches in Game 5.
Graveman didn’t swing once, and he is now likely the last pitcher to hit with the NL rule. While many fans were wondering why manager Dusty Baker didn’t double-switch his relief pitcher and Jose Siri, Graveman was going to need to pitch either way in the ninth inning due to bullpen arm usage.
It’s even more fitting that Greinke got the final hit as a pitcher as well. This doesn’t mean we won’t see more players like Ohtani over the next decade, or that the CBA even changes the NL rule, but Greinke, who loves hitting more than the next guy, picked up his second World Series hit on Sunday.
Pitchers would still be available as pinch-hitters, even if the CBA adds a universal DH. But under the current CBA and odds of the DH becoming universal high, Graveman and Greinke likely made history in Game 5 of the 2021 World Series.