Sunday, March 28, 2010


Pictured right is Greg Briley setting back the "bespectacled-ballplayers-don't-have-to-be-nerdy" cause several years. And I thought Upper Deck had a more thorough vetting process for images.

On a more serious note, bespectacled catchers, like Greg here, are rare. A recent request seeking to confirm that Clint Courtney (a real scrapper who did nothing but advance the cause mentioned above) was, in fact, the first four-eyed backstop (and no evidence found so far contradicts that fact) has led the Bespectacled Spectacle to begin a project- to chronicle every spec-ed up pro since the dawn of the major leagues. This means catchers, pitchers (the majority) and everyone else.

Staring soon, we will begin listing those hallowed individuals by decade, asking (pleading) for any comments or additions to the list. The first decade to be covered will be the 50's, so stay tuned...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blurring the Mendoza Line

George Brett: Bully. Leave it to Mr. Perfect (didn't the comparison between George and Curt Hennig always seem too easy?) to pick on the eternal baseball 'nerd': the good field/no-hit infielder. And in this case, a no-hit infielder with glasses: Mario Mendoza. Could Mario even see his own line?
Mario was not the worst hitting player in history (that title goes to Bill Bergen [.170 min. 2500 AB] and George McBride [.218 min. 5000 AB]), but it was his misfortune to be at the bottom of the stat line during the Brett era. Hence, the Mendoza line. Now the internationally recognized term for the lowest a pro ball player can go before finding the red ticket in the locker, the line stems from a 'compliment' Brett gave to Mendoza in an interview. After all, those players below the Mendoza Line are the ones who can't cut it, right? So Mario stands for the worst of the best, not the worst of the worst. Thanks George. Like most bullies, he was not original in his analysis: the term was really coined in the clubhouse, by Mendoza's own teammate Tom Paciorek. However, it took Brett, the star, to popularize it.

Mendoza, born in Mexico and now back in his home country after managing in the Mexican League, didn't need a strong bat to be a great ball player. His golden glove and razor sharp vision (possibly the product of his 'performance-enhanced' eyes?) even robbed bully Brett of the elusive .400 mark late in the 1980 season, and those soft hands earned him a place in the Salon de la Fama.

He joins Cookie Rojas as yet another crossover Hall of Famer in our Glasses Hall, blurring the Mendoza line to the point that even Brett needs some specs.
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