Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hey, Four Eyes! (’60s Version)

You’re a jock.  It’s the early ‘60s.  Facial hair is pretty much verboten.  What are you going to do to make yourself stand out from the crowd, just a little bit?

In a couple of years’ time, you could opt for Joe-Pepitone-style sideburns, or Rollie Fingers’ mustache, or Oscar Gamble’s afro.  Right now, though, the options are definitely limited.

What’s a man to do?  How are you going to say, “Hey, it’s me world.  It’s me, Arnold Earley!”?

Read on …


It’s a good look.  You take your basic nerdy looking guy, give him some even nerdier looking glasses, then pull his cap down over his eyes.  I’m sure he struck fear into the heart of every batter he faced.

You’ve met Pete Mikkelsen before, under Are You Sure You’re a Ballplayer?  There, we learned that that cap is covering a particularly unattractive crew cut, and also that Pete was a Marine.  I’m sorry, I’m just having a real hard time believing that last part.

Just to let you know that that particular style of eyewear was popular with Cy Young Award winners and MVPs too.  “Dennis,” though, has opted to go with the high-hat look instead of the pull-it-down-over-your-eyes one.

In addition to the Cy Young and MVP awards, Denny McLain was also the last pitcher to win 30 games.  He was also an excellent pilot, cut some records as an organist, was an underwear model, got involved with organized crime, and served some time in prison.  A well-rounded fellow, if in a rather roundabout kind of way.

More Denny here and here.


And here we have Fred, who has elected to go sans chapeau.

Fred Gladding was a decent reliever who led the NL in saves in 1969.  He also was arguably one of the worst hitters in major league history.  He holds the record for lowest non-zero batting average, going 1 for 63 and finishing at .016 lifetime.  I really want to know how he got that hit.

You’ve heard the expression coke-bottle glasses before, right?  These look like somebody cut the bottom off of a goldfish bowl.

Et encore de Fred, ici et ici.

Julian, meanwhile, has decided to introduce a little wrinkle by taking the basic nerdy look and making it cover his entire face.  And do I detect some shading???

Julian Javier nailed down second for the Redbirds for over ten years, getting in almost 6,000 at bats.  That was enough to get him into the Dominican Republic Baseball Hall of Fame and have the stadium named after him in San Pedro de Macoris, baseball hub of the universe. 

He’s also the father of major leaguer Stan Javier, who was named after Julian’s teammate with the Redbirds, Stan somebody (I forget the guy’s last name).


Clown glasses!  Bold statement, Frank.

Or should I say, “Hondo.”  Yup, that’s how I knew him as a kid growing up in Northern Virginia during the late ‘60s.  There was only one team in town, and they had only one star, so there wasn’t a whole lot of choice here.  Hondo did lead the AL in homers twice and RBIs once as a Nat.

Frank Howard was actually a man of many monikers – “Hondo,” “Chico,” “Capital Punishment,” and “The Washington Monument.”  That last one was particularly apt, as Frank was 6’7” and 255 lbs.


For some reason, this style was very popular in the ‘60s.  I have no idea why.  Cookie here is sporting the clear version.

Cookie Rojas was up for 16 years and got over 6,000 at-bats.  He was also a five-time All Star and led his league in fielding three times.  After his playing days were over, he coached, managed, and did (and still does) Spanish play-by-play for the Marlins.  A real baseball lifer.

Cookie probably deserves his own post. Elsewhere in this blog, I've got him down for more glasses, more glasses, bad handwriting, and looking oddly handsome.


Dave, meanwhile, favors the black and chunky look.  Note how it draws more attention to his googly eyes.  Nice touch, Dave!

A classic backup catcher, Dave Ricketts was up for six years, but got in only 200 at bats and hit just one home run.  Dave’s career post-retirement – like a lot of second-string backstops – was much longer.  He was a coach for over 20 years, a number of those with my beloved Bucs of the early ‘70s.

And here's what these babies look like with the always fashionable cap backwards look.


Now, here’s a man before his time.  Tell me, how many guys were fashion-forward enough to attempt aviators in 1964?

Don Mincher actually had a pretty decent career.  He played for 13 years, was a starter for a good ten of those, and ended up with 200 homers, on the nose.  He was a big boy (6’3” and 220 lbs.), but must have been something of a gentle giant, as he was universally beloved, as a player and as GM of the Huntsville Stars and president of the Southern League. 

Oh, and we can’t forget that he was the only All-Star the Seattle Pilots ever had.

But if it’s cool you’re after, you can always go with shades, like Ryne here.  Ray-Bans they ain’t, but you have to admit, the guy’s got style.

You’ve met Ryne Duren before, where he was definitely looking a little uncool and school-masterish

Interestingly, Ryne was a nickname.  His real name was Rinold.  Yup, Rinold.  And, yes, Ryne Sandberg was actually named after him.  Why?  I haven’t a clue.


Not everyone can make it work, unfortunately.  Poor “Herman” has combined shades with the chunky look and some bluish shading on the frames.  All I can think is “blind dude.”

Like Dave Ricketts, Herm Franks was the prototypical backup catcher sitting next to the manager on the bench.  He translated his six years into even more years coaching, managing, scouting, and in the front office. 

He’s probably most famous for (supposedly) stealing signs in the 1951 NL playoff, enabling Bobby Thompson to hit the “shot heard ‘round the world.”


Oh no! Looks that degenerative eye disease Ryne had has finally resulted in total blindness. Poor guy!

What … are … those … things?  These seem less like a fashion statement and more like a desperate plea for help. 

“Rookie star” designation aside, Steve Kealey had a pretty non-descript career – six years, eight wins, 214 IP, 4.28 ERA.  Nonetheless, this was enough to earn him a book-length bio on the Internet.  I think his mom might have written it.

Now, this is more like it.  Aviators, with yellow tinting!  Arnold Earley looks like he’s ready to join the highway patrol and start pulling over some speeders.

Another pretty non-descript career – eight years, 12-20 record, 4.48 ERA.  Arnold’s a Hall of Famer in my book though.

Dig specs?  Check out these four-eyed fellows from '50s.and '70s.

* - author has this card


  1. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gladding's only hit was a blooper RBI single against the Mets on July 30, 1969.

  3. But was it against his brother (like Joe Niekro's only homer - against his brother Phil)? Did the catcher owe him money and tip him off? Was it a 70 mph fastball? Something had to be going on there.

  4. Don Mincher is the only player to have played for all four iterations of the Washington Senators (the DC-based teams, and their descendants) --- the original Senators, the Twins, the expansion Senators, and the Rangers.