Thursday, June 18, 2009

The best glasses in the history of baseball cards, the sequel

Alright, I've been threatening to do this for months, so I finally had an hour to kill and went through my cards to find 20 bespectacled candidates for "The Best Glasses in the History of Baseball Cards, the Sequel."

The last countdown was Topps only. That didn't seem very fair to me. So I'm doing another countdown of non-Topps cards to see if the claim still holds up: does Kent Tekulve have the best glasses in the history of baseball cards?" He easily won last time, against what was probably much tougher competition. My non-Topps cards only go back to 1981, so there are none of the wacky frames from the '60s and '70s to challenge Tekulve. Also, I limited it to 20 players, instead of the 25 I went with the first time.

I realize that no glasses countdown is complete without this card. But I don't have it, so as far as this countdown is concerned it doesn't exist.

On with the countdown. Hope you enjoy it as much as the first:

20. Jeff McKnight, 1991 Score. Long hair, mustache and some bodacious frames. That is one daring look for a rookie. Sadly, McKnight's lovely visage didn't last long in the majors. He was done by 1994. He's also the subject of a much-repeated on-air flub by Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner, also mentioned by the sponsor of McKnight's page.

19. John Lowenstein, 1984 Fleer. What is it with Orioles wearing glasses? I really tried to find a Dodger to put on one of these lists, but aside from Steve Yeager there really wasn't a lot out there. The Orioles, on the other hand, seem drawn to the vision-challenged. It doesn't seem like a trait the team should be scouting.

18. Johnny Grubb, 1984 Fleer. The only reason he's here is because he looks exactly like a high school coach that I know.

17. Tom Henke, 1989 Fleer. Henke is scaring the bejesus out of hitters by going with the squinty look. "Hey, I can't see very well. Did I mention I throw 95?"

16. Lenn Sakata, 1982 Donruss. Another Oriole. This is the first player to appear on both lists. But not the last. Sakata gets bonus points for wearing the bright orange jersey. I loved those things.

15. Reggie Jackson, 1981 Fleer. Reggie also appears on both lists. I think the only reason he made this list is because Fleer decided to call him Mr. Baseball. When was he ever known as Mr. Baseball?

14. Leon Durham, 1983 Fleer. I bet there are at least two Cubs fans reading this right now that are thinking of the error Durham made in Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS. But these are happier times. Look at Durham and a teammate checking something/someone out in the stands.

13. Mitch Williams, 1994 Score. If you're going to wear glasses (technically shades, I guess), wear ones that say "Killer 100P" on the side. I saw Williams on the MLB Network defend Luis Castillo for not using two hands on the pop fly he dropped against the Yankees. Bizarre.

12. Tom Hume, 1983 Donruss. Hume vaults from No. 20 on the last countdown to No. 12 here. You cannot go wrong with square frames. It'll get you on the countdown every time.

11. Greg Luzinski, 1985 Fleer. It was a sad day when Luzinski starting wearing glasses. Not as sad as when Fernando Valenzuela did the same, but sad just the same. Look, he doesn't seem happy, does he?

10. Max Venable, 1986 Donruss. Max just doesn't look like a ballplayer here. He looks like he just bought the entire Reds get-up at the souvenir stand and wandered onto the field at Dodger Stadium. But he was enough of a major leaguer to spawn a current big leaguer in Will Venable.

9. Fred Breining, 1982 Donruss. Breining returns to the countdown. Perhaps you're thinking that glasses are not a good look for Breining.

There he is without the glasses. Now, tell me. Which look is better?

8. Darrell Porter, 1981 Donruss. Porter is back as well, and looks as intimidating as hell. He's wearing thick frames and a baby blue jersey, and he still looks like he could put me 10 feet in the ground.

7. Bob Watson, 1984 Fleer. Poor Bob just never appeared all that with it on his baseball cards, and the glasses didn't help. But obviously he had some smarts as he's been a GM and worked in MLB management for quite awhile.

6. Rudy May, 1983 Fleer. Whatever Fleer did to make Rudy May look like a horror film demon certainly worked. This photo is just disturbing.

5. Ron Kittle, 1983 Fleer. I love this card. One of my favorites. Kittle was something else when he came up. You didn't think a dude with glasses could mash like that. But he could. For a little bit anyway.

4. Greg Minton, 1982 Fleer. "What did that guy just say? Did he just call me 'four-eyes?' Tell me, what did he say? I'll kick his ass."

3. Chris Sabo, 1993 Donruss. SPUDS! The best thing about Sabo was he played like a maniac while seeming to be completely unaware of how wacky he looked with those goggles. I miss Spuds.

2. Kent Tekulve, 1984 Fleer. OH NO! An incredible upset! Tekulve has been knocked out of the top spot! The king is dead! Even with the golden jacket and the square cap, it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough because of this:

1. Alex Cole, 1992 Studio. Mercy, what a great card. Mr. Cole you have done well, knocking out someone of Tekulve's stature. You truly have the best glasses in the history of baseball cards.

Until next time.

(Sorry, Mr. Tekulve, there is no recount).


  1. Well done. Alex Cole does have some great specs.

    But how does Danny MacFayden not make the list? Were there voting irregularities or something? Check out these glasses:

  2. Nice list, but as with all lists there is always one yahoo who thinks you missed an obvious one. Let me be that yahoo. HOW COULD YOU HAVE POSSIBLY LEFT JIM GANTNER OFF THIS LIST!!!! THE MAN HAS NEVER WORE A PAIR OF GLASSES THAT WERE SMALLER THAN GRAPEFRUITS.

  3. Where's my boy Jim Gantner?!

  4. Strangely enough, I was planning a post on the Goudey MacFayden for this weekend. His octo-goggles seriously rule.


  6. I can't help but feel that Brian Downing got robbed. At least a top 20 performer.

  7. Like I said before, these are based the cards I have. If someone wants to send me a 1933 Goudey, I'll be happy to add it to the list.

    I feel real bad about leaving out Gantner -- I'm aware of his massive specs -- but he just didn't make the cut. The cards where he has close-up shots he's not wearing glasses. Downing's another guy who just missed the cut.

  8. Fair enough, night owl (re: Gantner's omission). Great entry, though!

  9. Oops. Didn't catch that it's only cards you have. My bad. Once again, great list!

  10. Wow! Darrell Porter looks like Lemmy on that card!

  11. Love the selection of Watson, who seems married to powerful glasses. His 76 Hostess card features a pair that actually suits the classic Astros uni.

  12. I wasn't sure about Tek's status as runner-up in the listing until I viewed Alex Cole's glasses. Wow.

    Chuck McElroy should also receive an honorable mention for his early '90s monstrosities.

  13. you forgot the best one's ever, and it is not even a close second. even tom cruise didn't do for wayfarers what lowell palmer did:

  14. you should own the 1971 topps:

  15. my favorite one of recent memory is Gustavo Chacin (reference 2007 UD Star Signings auto from what I believe was Series 1).

  16. jacobmrly: Lowell Palmer's '71 card actually made the first edition of "the best glasses in the history of baseball cards." I believe he came in second.