Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 1950's

The Project begins- our attempt to chronicle every player who donned a pair of specs in the history of the MLB. To start with, the first real four-eyed decade: the 50's. After WWII, advances in eye wear technology, along with the GI Bill, led to the first bespectacled decade. Below is a list of all those brave warriors to make it on to a line-up card- or, at least, we hope it is. One goal of this project is to fill in any gaps that may exist, so please leave in the comments section any names that should be on the list:

Dom DiMaggio
Bob Dillinger
Bill Rigney (Nicknamed 'specs' when he was with the Oakland Oaks, Rigney [below] had a decent career in the infield for the Giants, though his most productive years were prior to 1950. However, he will be remembered for his managerial work, leading the first Giants of the San Francisco bay. The team consisted of Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and other greats, all who would sing his praises for years to come.)

Jim Konstanty
Walt Masterson
Earl Torgeson
Thurman Tucker
Don Richmond
Clyde King
Hal Erickson
Tom Gorman
Dick Cole
Clint Courtney
Dizzy Trout
Al Sima
Ed Blake
Joe Ostrowski
Harry Elliot
Jim Bolger
Ernie Oravetz
Ray McMillan
Dave Sisler
Lee Walls
Charley Thompson
Jim Brosnan
Don Bessent
Del Ennis
Eddie Kasko
George Crowe (Starting at first base for the Braves in their last year in Boston, Crowe [below] was the first bespectacled African American in the Majors. Like George Mikan before him, he excelled at basketball [in college, of course- those four eyes needed to study as well as play ball], but baseball was his true calling. He played in the Negro Leagues as well as in pre-integrated professional basketball with the Harlem Rens, but made his mark in the majors as a pinch hitter. He set the record (since broken) for pinch hit home runs, and had his best season with the Reds in 1957, when he hit 31 homers and had a .989 fielding average [think about playing first with a piece of glass less than an inch from your eye]. George is the last living member of the Rens, and we hope he keeps on going for a long time, glasses and all.)

Dick Hyde
Roy Smalley
Whitey Herzog
Carl Sawatski
Mel Roach
Chuck Coles
Steve Korcheck
Bob Nieman
Howie Nunn
Jim Baxes

Coming next- the 60's, as well as some more 50's profiles. Please comment if you see any errors or glaring omissions.
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