Wednesday, November 21, 2012

'57 Senators led league in four-eyes, baldies

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

            The 1957 Washington Senators set a record for the number of players who wore glasses on the field.
            The five bespectacled Senators were Clint Courtney, Whitey Herzog, Ernie Oravetz, Herb Plews and Dick Hyde.
            You'd never know Plews wore glasses by looking at his 1957-59 Topps cards, though.
He can be found in other images wearing the cheaters, such as the 1959 Jay Publishing Co. Senators picture pack. 
            “We don’t need no trainer on this club,” Courtney said, “we need an eye doctor.
            “And lemme tell you something else—there’s some others that ought to be (wearing glasses).”
            Precisely because he wore glasses, Courtney was one of my favorite players when I was a kid; I was a “four-eyes” myself by the time I went to first grade.
            The Senators were also credited with leading the league in balding ballplayers for 1957.
            Bob Addie, writing in the Washington Post and Times Herald, observed that the Senators “are not very likely to be asked to endorse any hair tonics.”
            He wrote, “Eddie Yost, Herb Plews, Ed Fitz Gerald, Clint Courtney, Dean Stone and Roy Sievers all have locks on the thinning side.”

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