Pinch Hitter (1896)

Dowd’s judgment in sending Douglas to the bat instead of Breitenstein is open to question. Doug is a good ‘pinch’ hitter, but Breit is hitting the ball as hard as any of them.St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 23, 1896, p5

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1902 (The Sporting Life, Apr. 26, p. 8; Edward J. Nichols).