Tag Archives: fake ballplayers

Baseball Players That Actually Existed: George “Specs” Torporcer [day 4]

(See how I changed that up?  He sounds made-up, though — right?)

“Specs” was probably the first major-league ballplayer – and certainly the first infielder — to dare wear glasses on the field.  Basically, he may as well have been wearing a propeller on his head, that’s how much he stood out.  I mean, they called him “Specs”, for crying out loud

Here he is in all his bespectacled glory:


An interview with Specs was featured in “The Glory of Their Times” by Lawrence Ritter, which if you have any interest in baseball whatsoever, you must procure immediately.  He had to quit coaching when his eyesight began to (really) fail, and eventually underwent what sounded like the most miserable surgery ever.  They operated on one eye at a time and the convalescence required that he basically lie in bed with one eye bandaged for an outrageous amount of time (a month?  It might have been longer) with no idea whether the surgery “took”…followed by the same thing with the other eye.  Unfortunately the first eye was a no-go, so after the second eye was done, poor Specs had to lie in the darkness wondering if he was blind.  And, when the bandages were removed, it turned out… sniff…  he was.  SPECS!  [as I shake my fist at a fickle and uncaring God]

Here’s a funny quote from his Wikipedia page that I hadn’t heard before:

  • 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
  • So, spectacle-wearers everywhere, raise a glass to Specs, who was representin’ going way back.

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    Baseball Players That Never Existed: Eddie “Eagle Eye” Wilcox [day 3]

    No one ever had the guts to ask what happened to “Eagle Eye”‘s other eye… or his other leg, for that matter. 


    Of course, no one ever needed to ask what happened to his depth perception and baserunning.  That was pretty evident.

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    Old Baseball Players That Never Existed II: “Kid” McGee [day 2]

    “Kid” McGee, hero newsie.  When called to service, he  gallantly stepped in from the ha’penny standing-room only/steerage area along the third base line to fill in for his World War I-, influenza-, and typhoid-ravaged team.


    Kid, that walk on four straight balls miles outside your strike zone simply could not have happened without you.

    (Inspired by the fact that Babe Ruth apparently called everyone “Kid” because he was incapable of remembering names)

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    Thing of the Week: Baseball Players That Never Existed II [day 1]

    Everyone’s favorite feature about amusingly named yet fictional ballplayers is BACK!  [To see the last round  just go to the archives for Decemember 2-5, or click here, here, here, and here.]

    Meet “Snitty” Hoffmann.


    He was famed for his extended sulks whenever he was forced to ride the pine — which was an all-too frequent occurrence as he was kind of a crappy ballplayer.  Hence, Snitty was usually in a snit.

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    Baseball Players That Never Existed [day 4]

    “Lightnin'” Jones


    Yeah, it wasn’t his baserunning.

    A programming note:  New updates of “The Turning of the Worm” are on temporary hiatus…but don’t worry, it’ll be back, most likely mid-January.  Watch this space, etc.

    Next week’s Thing of the Week: Awkward Moments.  Tune in Monday for some skin-crawlin’ fun!


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