6.08.2010

Players and specs. And a question!

Quick note: It turns out that starting a new job and taking three classes on your two days off makes it a little difficult to post. That's why we've been so, um, low-profile lately. We fully intend to revive in August so please don't give up on us!

Today someone asked us: who was the first player to wear glasses in a Major League game? Bruce Markusen of Bronx Banter/Baseball Toaster answered this question in 2008:

"The first major leaguer to wear glasses during a major league game was 19th century workhorse Will 'Woop-La' White, who completed 394 out of 401 starts in his career. (I wonder what his pitch counts were like.) In 1877, White wore a pair of eyeglasses for the Boston Red Sox Stockings, who were then a National League franchise. [Does anyone out there have a photo or a card of Woop La?] After White finished donning the spectacles for Boston, no other major leaguer would sport glasses for another 38 years. In 1915, pitcher Lee "Specs" Meadows cracked the 20th century glasses barrier with the Cardinals. Like White, Meadows was a very good pitcher, a winner of 188 games over a 15-year career.


Up until 1921, only pitchers dared wear glasses during games. That changed when George 'Specs' Toporcer became the first position player to make the transition. A singles-hitting middle infielder who played for the Cardinals, Toporcer wore glasses for the balance of his eight-year career in St. Louis."


Do you have any other insights about spec-wearin' players? Since both Lucy (our daughter the card collector) and moi have been known to sport spectacles, we have another urgent question. We'll print it embiggened for everyone who might be nearsighted:

What's the best baseball card ever made of a player wearing glasses?

15 comments:

mmosley said...

http://smokeeminside.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/fun-cards-1973-topps-jim-breazeale/

dayf said...

FYI - Baseball-Reference has player photos now. I could spend lifetimes in that place.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/whitewi01.shtml

Mosley posted Jim already, so here's vintage specs:
http://cardjunk.blogspot.com/2008/07/card-of-week-072108.html
or if you prefer, a photo:
http://cardjunk.blogspot.com/2010/01/vintage-show-da-braves.html

Spiff said...

Great question. Wish I had a good answer. Glad to see you still posting some.

Grand Cards said...

I'm on the road for work and don't have cards at my disposal for reference, but I think that we all know the answer to your question...

Anything with Chris Sabo!

night owl said...

All of the above are excellent choices. I don't know if I've settled on the best, but I tried to here:

http://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2009/02/best-glasses-in-history-of-baseball.html

and here:

http://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2009/06/best-glasses-in-history-of-baseball.html

Also, did you know there was a blog devoted to this very topic?

http://thebespectacledspectacle.blogspot.com/

Jim from Downingtown said...

Any Cookie Rojas card.

Matthew Glidden said...

Have to go with Bob Watson's 1976 Hostess card. Nice shades, especially for a guy playing in the Astrodome.

http://number5typecollection.blogspot.com/2009/04/1976-hostess-5-bob-watson.html

jacobmrley said...

two words: lowell palmer. (1970-72)

Dean Family said...

Kent Tekulve

--David said...

I have to agree with Dean Family - any card with Kent on it. I grew up in Pgh watching him pitch and collecting his cards (shhh, yes, I was a HUGE Pirates fan once upon a time).

Word Verification: holipal - those people you only talk to via cards sent out at holidays.

Mark's Ephemera said...

Probably not the best, but three that I wrote about last year are:
* Earl Torgeson
* Howie Koplitz
* Ryne Duren

ND said...

Try to find Specs' book. "Baseball – From Backlots to Big Leagues". He actually went blind in the early 1950's while he was managing. He was featured in Lawrence Ritter's Glory of Their Times, another classic book.

mmmrhubarb said...

Having sported glasses now for ~38 years, my "glasses heroes" have to be Chris Sabo, early Matt Kinney, and...Kurt Rambis!

Todd Uncommon said...

There are so many greats to choose from; Craig Kusick, Paul Reuschel. The winner might be almost any card of Darrell Porter.

However, my personal favorite has to be the 1979 Topps Dennis Lamp.

If he folded those things in half, and looked through them with one eye at the night sky, he could see the rings of Saturn.

I can say these things because I have had a -8.00 correction for at least the last one score and three years. I used to be a kid who played keeper in soccer with his plastic lenses strapped to his head with Croakies until I had one too many pairs explode in my face when struck. Been wearing contacts (with optional heat vision) ever since.

Sal said...

I'm not a big baseball card person anymore (hockey is my thing), but your blog post title made me instantly think of Vance Law's 1985 Topps card. And maybe Ron Kittle's 1989 Topps card, to a lesser extent.