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Specs Toporcer

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Specs Toporcer

Specs Toporcer
Specs Toporcer, in 1921. Source: American Memory: Chicago Daily News.
Born: (1899-02-09)February 9, 1899
New York, New York
Died: May 17, 1989(1989-05-17) (aged 90)
Huntington Station, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1921, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
June 2, 1928, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average .279
Home runs 9
Runs batted in 151

George Toporczer [played as Toporcer] (February 9, 1899 – May 17, 1989) was a professional baseball player and executive. He served primarily as a utility infielder during his eight seasons in Major League Baseball, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1921 through 1928. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. Toporcer is widely considered as the first major league baseball position player to wear eyeglasses on the playing field.[1][2]


  • Early Life 1
  • Playing career 2
    • Major leagues 2.1
    • Minor league player-manager 2.2
  • Later career 3
  • Loss of Sight 4
  • Quotation 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8

Early Life

From an early age, like most kids at the time, George Toporczer was obsessed with baseball. In an interview he admitted that for the last seventy five years scarce a day had gone by that he had not contemplated the sport. He stated that in spite of his obsession he was always picked last during childhood games because of his slight build and glasses. He went to school and becames friends with the actor

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)

External links

  1. ^ Spectacular players can wear spectacles
  2. ^ Glasses Half Full
  3. ^ a b c d The Glory of Their Times, additional text.
  4. ^ a b c d Specs Toporcer at The Baseball Library


See also

  • Branch Rickey once told this story about Specs Toporcer: A 19-year-old boy who weighed 142 pounds and never had played a game of pro ball came off the field at Orange, New Jersey. I watched this kid and saw him take off his glasses and, with his hands outstretched, grope his way along the wall to the showers. My captain turned to me and said, For God's sake, who sent him up? - Norman L. Macht, baseball writer and statistician[4]


During his time as the farm director for the Boston Red Sox George Toporczer began to notice spots in his vision that were obstructing his sight. After visiting an eye specialist and having a lengthy examination done the doctor diagnosed him with a detached retina. George got the required surgery and the doctor proscribed a thirty-day period of laying in his bed not moving his head so as not the dislodge the retina while it healed. Once the thirty days were over the doctor removed the bandages to find the surgery had been unsuccessful and that George had lost sight in his left eye. Another attempt was made to save his left eye but after another thirty-day recovery phase it was found that it could not be saved. Some time after he had gone blind in his left eye he began to have problem with his right eye. After three more unsuccessful surgeries George Toporczer was blind in both eyes.[3]

Loss of Sight

Toporcer died in Huntington Station, New York at the age of 90.

In 1951, while managing the Buffalo Bisons, Toporcer became blind after a fifth operation to save his failing eyesight was unsuccessful. His life story was featured in a network TV show in which he played the lead.[4]

Toporcer later served as the director of minor league operations for the Boston Red Sox, and also worked with the Chicago White Sox. In 1944, Toporcer wrote an autobiography, Baseball – From Backlots to Big Leagues, still considered one of the best manuals of instruction for coaches and young players.[4]

Later career

[3] Following his major league career, Toporcer played for the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate

Minor league player-manager

In an eight-season career, Toporcer was a .279 hitter with nine home runs and 151 RBI in 546 games. As a fielder, he appeared in 453 games at shortstop (249), second base (105), third base (95), first base (3) and right field (1).

[3] Born and reared in the

Major leagues

Playing career


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