Boy, does this guy look mild-mannered. The glasses, the name, the slight paunchiness, the blank expression. I was tempted to put him in my Are you Sure You’re a Ballplayer? post.
Turns out, though, that this dude was one of the major brawlers of modern baseball. Earl Torgeson got into fights for getting thrown at, getting tangled up at first base, having a catcher mess with his bat, and “overhearing vulgar language in the presence of his wife.” (SABR Bio Project) And you never knew it what was coming until Earl took off his glasses and socked you in the kisser.
Torgeson was also a pretty decent ballplayer. He was up for 15 seasons, getting in just short of 5000 at-bats. He had a famous batting eye, finishing with a .386 OBP. He led the league in runs one year, and was a 20-20 man the year after.
Who’da thunk it?
1954. Earl is 29. It was several years since his big years, but he was still a respectable regular.
1956. The last year Torgeson would get over 500 at bats.
1958. Some slightly shady character that Robert Duvall might play? Also, is he packin’ some chaw?
1959. Switching to the pointy glasses. Makes Earl look more like a … geez, I don’t know what.
1960. I think my grandma had a pair like these, though I do believe the women’s version was a tad skinnier.
1961. Are the pointies gone? And Earl’s definitely packin’ some chaw in this one.
I have no idea where this one came from. The Yankees were, however, Earl’s last team. So, this is most likely his very last card. It certainly is an all-time classic. I can’t decide if Earl looks more like a math teacher, accountant, or mechanical engineer.
Does Earl look familiar? You’ve actually seen him before, swinging his bat hard enough to screw himself into the ground.