Spectacular Sporty Spectacles

Just a little eyewear mix up at my last key party.

The plight of the bespectacled athlete is worth some attention. After our fearless leader immortalized the younger DiMaggio in prose this week, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to a visual ode to the goggled gods of baseball.

Yes, there is a site dedicated solely to baseball players wearing eyeglasses. Sometimes BespectacledBaseball seems to cheat with the odd pair of sunglasses from time to time, but rest assured – those are prescription. And not only does the site provide the visitor with visuals worth recommending, it also adorns those images with poetic captions – in Craig Kusik‘s case, “I tied the Major League record for most times hit by a pitch in an extra-inning game with 3 in 11 inning contest, August 27, 1975.” Practically William-Carlos-Williams-ian.

Bespectacled Baseball is just a baby, man, but the urge to laud players with face windows is not. Check this Wikipedia list of major leaguers with glasses, including this historical fact worth enshrining somewhere:

The first major-league player to wear spectacles was Will ‘Whoop-La’ White in 1878-86.[1][2] Only pitchers dared wear glasses while playing until the early 1920s, when George ‘Specs’ Toporcer of the St. Louis Cardinals became the first outfielder to sport eyewear. Bespectacled pitchers are less rare as they have less need to field the ball.

‘Whoop-La’ there it is. Let’s end with the most famous of spectacular athletes – Reggie Jackson. After all, he’s one (of two) bespectacled baseballers to ever make the Hall of Fame, and with the advent of contacts and Lasik surgery, he will be a member of what may remain a rare breed in the future. NotGraphs salutes you, oh meister of (double) monacles and star of shades.

Hat/Tip: My mother (seriously). And Esquire for the Reggie picture.

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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