Fielders of Vision: Baseball Players Who Wear Glasses

We can understand why the commissioner of Major League Baseball would ban players associated with gambling.
We can also understand why the commissioner of Major League Baseball would ban players who have used steroids.
barry bonds jersey
But we were thrown a curveball, so to speak, when we saw a headline claiming that the current commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, decided to ban eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Commissioner of baseball bans steroids
Therefore, we were relieved, as it were, when we learned that this was a fake “news story” from CAP News, a satirical website in the style of The Onion.
How could it be otherwise? After all, without his eyeglasses, Oakland A’s second baseman Eric Sogard would never get a hit or field a ball.
Sogard looks awesome in his full-rim, rectangular “ombre” (two-tone) frame, not unlike Zenni frame 286315.
Zenni Optical Ombre Frames 286315
Among contemporary baseball players, Sogard is joined in wearing glasses on the field by Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard.
baseball player with glasses
Clippard’s half-rim frame is very similar to Zenni frame 294316.
Zenni Optical Half Rim Glasses Frames 294316
Sugard and Clippard are upholding a long tradition that started with pitcher Will “Whoop-La” White, the first baseball player to wear glasses, who played for several teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, from 1877-86.
Amazingly, White’s full-rim round translucent eyeglasses are still popular today. Check out Zenni’s similar frame 620315.
Zenni Optical Round Frames 220012
However, for players who were not pitchers, there was a stigma (and maybe an astigmatism) attached to wearing glasses. That ended in 1921, when utility infielder George “Specs” Toporcer debuted in Major League Baseball, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Baseball player with glasses
Specs is wearing a classic round frame that is not unlike Zenni frame 679715.
Zenni Optical Frames 679715
Only two Hall of Fame players wore glasses on the field. One, a very famous late-20th-century player, should be easy to guess. If you need a hint, his nickname is “Mr. October.”
Reggie Jackson
Yep. That would be Reggie Jackson, whose metal aviator-style frame never goes out of style. Zenni frame 453415 is very similar.
Zenni Optical Aviator Frames 453415
The other Hall of Famer might be a little harder to guess.
Hall of Fame baseball player
No, that’s not Specs Toporcer, although Specs and his glasses bear a strong resemblance to Charles “Chick” Hafey, who is depicted here.
Hafey was an outfielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds in the 1920s and ’30s. He represented eyeglasses wearers well, as the National League Batting Champion in 1931, with a .349 average. He sports the classic round style of eyeglasses similar to Toporcer’s, and similar to Zenni frame 450014.
Zenni Optical Round Frames 450014
Relief pitcher Jim Konstanty was the first eyeglasses wearing player to win the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, winning 16 games and saving 22 in 1950, when he played for the Philadelphia Phillies.
His rimless-glasses look could be duplicated by Zenni frame 314911, with lens shape 230.
Zenni Optical Frames 314911
Infielder and outfielder Dick Allen, who played in both the National and American Leagues, was the first eyeglasses wearer to win the American League MVP award, in 1972.
Not too many ballplayers can make this claim, but Allen was also an R&B singer. His group, Rich Allen and the Ebonistics, had a 1968 hit, “Echo’s (sic) of November.”
Allen's record
Allen’s classic, full-rim ombre frame is similar to Zenni frame 627034.
Zenni Optical Classic Ombre Frames 627034
Finally, Boston Red Sox centerfielder Dom DiMaggio was nicknamed “The Little Professor,” in part because he was one of the few players of his time (the 1940s-early ’50s) to wear eyeglasses.
Dom Dimaggio
DiMaggio’s classic metal round glasses are similar to Zenni frame 151314.
Zenni Optical Frames 151314
DiMaggio still holds the Red Sox hitting-streak record, 34 games in 1949. His brother Joe, who played centerfield for the New York Yankees and whose 56-game streak in 1941 remains a Major League Baseball record, ended Dom’s streak when he caught a line drive his brother hit to centerfield.
DiMaggio brothers
They had another centerfielder brother, Vince, who played for National League teams, but like Joe he didn’t wear glasses.
vince dimaggio 3
Presumably Dom made sure to wear his glasses at DiMaggio family gatherings, so he’d have a good look at his sister-in-law.
That’s how to keep your eye on the ball!

Wednesday, April, 23 2014 by

“Frame Friday” Roundup: Easter-Spring-Stravaganza

Happy Good (Frame) Friday. It’s only two days until Easter Sunday. That could mean chocolate bunnies and peeps, an Easter egg hunt, glazed ham and a nice family meal, and even new spring fashions. Zenni Optical’s spring glasses line has got you covered.

And even if your are in the sad party of the country mourning a spring already come and gone, the right glasses can help put you in a state of mind that is as springy as ever, just in time for a big family holiday.

Many of the iconic items and activities we enjoy each Easter are actually symbols of spring, a time of re-awakening, new life, and poetically, rebirth.

Eggs are obviously the font of new life for many species, and bunnies are prolific reproducers whose plentiful progeny first appear around this time of year.

This synchronizes perfectly with the Christian holiday that commemorates the return of Jesus Christ. Depicted as a literal a resurrection from the grave, Christ’s return three days after his crucifixion by the Romans emphasizes the same seasonal motifs of rebirth and renewal.

So whether you spend Easter celebrating and having fun with family, preparing for your own fashion rebirth with a new pair of glasses, or in a more religious way, reflecting on your sins, or some combination of them, don’t lose sight of the message and the metaphor.

Some people treat Easter as an occasion to give gifts as well, although this is primarily reserved for the little ones in the form of small prizes and chocolates hidden in plastic eggs. If you want to give another adult a gift, new glasses are the perfect season-appropriate option.

The easiest way to identify spring glasses for Easter, for yourself or a gift, is by their colors. Lighter shades are a dead giveaway, as are more natural, vibrant, lively colors that suggest life and flower in bloom.

Easter means many things to people. It’s a family holiday, a religious occasion that also marks the conclusion of the Lenten season, and a chance for fun, games, and symbols of spring. No matter what you do this Sunday, with some spring frames from Zenni, you can look your seasonal best.

Friday, April, 18 2014 by

Delicate Pastels For Spring – One Look For Under $100!

Spring is in the air, so it’s time to lighten things up a bit with pastels, softer fabrics and flirty sandals. We here at Zenni had a look at this season’s trends and decided to put together a simple, gorgeous ensemble that’s perfect for springtime . . . and all for under $100! Check out what we came up with and let us know what you think in the comments below.

The Frames – Pink Translucent Frames from Zenni

pink transparent frames
Badly chosen eyewear can ruin your look before you even get started, which is why we began our spring ensemble with these adorable Zennis ($6.95). A lovely pink translucent frame picks up the pink on the dress, harmonizing with the lighter colors of a spring look while also drawing attention to your beautiful eyes.

The Dress – Tribal Print Zip Back Shift Dress from Body Central

Body Central's Tribal Print Zip Back Shift DressThe next element of this look is a simple shift dress that offers a study in contrasts: Warm pastels take on new life in a bold Aztec-themed print. The result is Southwest glam that isn’t too heavy-handed.
In addition, the shape of this dress makes it an incredibly versatile piece: While the skirt is a little short for work, you can still wear this on your days off with a baby-blue cardigan for shopping and strolling around town. Even better, this Tribal Print Zip Back Shift Dress from Body Central will only set you back $24.98 . . . a serious steal.

The Shoes – Gladiator Sandals from Maurices

Anna Beaded Gladiator Sandals from MauricesThese gladiator sandals, only $24.00 from Maurices, rock this look without overwhelming the dress. Pastels can sometimes be tricky to match, so your best bet is either an exact match or a pale/light neutral. These sandals kick things up a notch with gold metallic studs.

Bonus: In addition to being incredibly cute, the flat heel and straps gives the whole outfit a decidedly beach-y look, even if you are strolling down a city street.

The Accessory – Curve Bar Clutch from Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins Blush Curve Bar ClutchLest you think that this outfit is getting a bit too casual, our stylist comes to the rescue with this adorable, but quite proper, clutch in pale pink with beige trim. At only $27 from Dorothy Perkins, the bag even has a zippered pocket for your wallet (a good thing, considering the money you’re going to save on this outfit) and a pouch for your cell.





Thursday, April, 17 2014 by

Jazz Appreciation Month – These Artists ‘Got Their Glasses On!’

In jazz slang, to say you’ve “got your glasses on” means you’re acting a little snooty.

But we think that expression’s jive, man, because we’re all about people getting their glasses on. After all, some of the coolest cats who ever blew an axe literally got their glasses on.

Don’t have a cow, man. We know Simpsons character Bleeding Gums Murphy wasn’t an actual jazz great. But plenty of real-life jazz musicians sported some pretty rad rims.
So in honor of April’s designation as Jazz Appreciation Month (with the appropriate acronym JAM), we’re taking a look at some of the baddest daddies (and a couple of fine ladies) of jazz who definitely got their glasses on – in a good way.
Composer, lyricist, and ragtime pianist Eubie Blake was one of the fathers of jazz.

Blake and his partner, singer-songwriter Noble Sissle, wrote the 1921 Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first written and directed by African Americans. That show gave the world the standard “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” Blake was just wild about horn-rim, wayfarer-style glasses. Check out similar Zenni frame 220421.

Clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman’s 1938 concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall was considered jazz’s coming-out party, and as such, one of the most important performances in jazz history.

The concert climaxed with the immortal “Sing, Sing, Sing,” featuring Lionel Hampton (left) on vibraphone, Gene Krupa on drums and Harry James (not pictured) on trumpet.

A big part of Goodman’s image is his rimless eyeglasses.

Goodman’s frame is similar to Zenni’s frame 322111, shown with lens shape 232.

If you want to copy Goodman’s style, go with lens shape 224.

Thelonious Monk was one of the first modern-jazz, bebop artists.

He was notable for a percussive style of piano improvisation with abrupt starts and stops. Monk first gained attention performing with Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, where he was the house pianist.

Monk’s popularity took off when the Thelonious Monk Quartet played the Five Spot Café in New York, in 1957. Along with Monk on piano, the quartet included (from left) John Coltrane on sax, Shadow Wilson on drums, and Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass.

Whether it’s “ ’Round Midnight,” or any time of the day, Monk looks great in his glasses. You’ll look just as cool in Zenni frame 690111.

Or, to get the Monk look in non-prescription sunglasses, go with Zenni frame A10120421.

Ella Fitzgerald was known as both the “First Lady of Song” and the “Queen of Jazz.”

She was the first African-American woman to win a Grammy, at the first Grammy Awards ceremony, in 1959. She actually won two Grammys that night, Best Female Vocal Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook, and Best Jazz Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook.

She went on to win 11 more Grammys. Her live version of “Mack the Knife,” recorded in 1960, is one of the landmark jazz performances captured on record.

Although she didn’t wear glasses in performance as a young jazz singer, Fitzgerald wore them in later years.

Her oversize, ornamented, full-rim style is similar to these Zenni frames (click on the images to see their specs!):



It’s notable that several of these landmark performances are in the late 1950s and early ’60s. In jazz, 1959 is considered the art form’s peak year, similar to the way film buffs consider 1939 the greatest year in movie history.



You’ve probably seen those three 1939 movies, which are so famous they need no identification. They are just a few of the many movie masterpieces that year.
Now let’s look at some classic jazz albums that were released in 1959:





Of the jazz greats behind these albums, only bandleaders Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis were frequently seen in glasses.


Check out Brubeck (at the piano) with his quartet (from left, alto sax player Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello), all of whom are wearing glasses.

We love the Take Five cut “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” and the title track, which is so recognizable and popular it could almost serve as jazz’s theme song, although some would argue that John Coltrane’s version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” deserves that distinction.
As much as we love both recordings, we’re going to go with Brubeck, if only because he and his bandmates all wore glasses.
Brubeck’s signature frame is not unlike Eubie Blake’s wayfarer-style horn-rims, but let’s mix it up a bit (you didn’t think we were going to say “jazz it up,” did you?) with a rich-looking, brown wayfarer-style frame from Zenni, model 820415.

Desmond’s glasses are similar to Zenni frame 614212.

Wright is wearing a pair of classic brow line glasses, not unlike Zenni frame 535021.

Morello’s glasses, with a straight-line bridge, are similar to Zenni’s Christmastime tortoiseshell frame 624725.

Trumpeter Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue brought a new form of improvisation to jazz, using the songs’ scales rather than chords for his riffs. His 1960 album, Sketches of Spain, is just as revered as Kind of Blue, but we’re also extremely fond of a less heralded 1959 album by Davis and Gil Evans, their jazz version of Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin (music), DuBose Heyward (libretto and lyrics), and Ira Gershwin (lyrics).
When he started wearing glasses, Davis favored oversized frames, like these aviators.

Davis’s frame calls and Zenni responds, with similar frame 579721.

When you think of images of one of Davis’s modern-jazz forebears, Dizzy Gillespie, you probably think of two balloon-like cheeks rather than two round eyeglass lenses. But in his early years, the man credited by many as the originator of bebop, also known as modern jazz, wore round, full-rim specs that set off his not-yet “moon cheeks”.

Pop on similar Zenni frame 6290015, and start blowin’!

If Thenlonious Monk and Miles Davis are bebop, and Benny Goodman is “prebop,” then Herbie Hancock could be considered “post bop.”

Hancock is a true crossover jazz-fusion artist, bringing synthesizers, funk, soul, and modern classical music to his improvisations. His 2007 tribute album to occasional jazz artist Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters, won two Grammys, for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Album of the Year.

The full-rim, rectangular metal frames shown in his picture and on the album cover are not unlike Zenni’s frame 650312 (in gray) and 650315 (in brown).


Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is the first jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

A prodigy who was performing in church by age 8, Marsalis won the Pulitzer in 1997 for Blood on the Fields, an oratorio about a couple moving from slavery to freedom.

With his participation in various PBS programs, including Marsalis on Music and Ken Burns’s Jazz, his several books on jazz, and his artistic directorship of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis has become the leading ambassador of jazz.
The full-rim rectangular metal frame he’s wearing in his picture is similar to Zenni’s frames 552415 (brown) or 552421 (black).


Finally, sultry Canadian singer-pianist Diana Krall (shown with bassist Ben Wolfe) is one of the few ladies of jazz who doesn’t mind performing in eyeglasses.

That may be because she is married to Elvis Costello, whose glasses are an indelible part of his appearance.

Krall’s tinted full-rim rectangular glasses are similar Zenni’s frame 228721.

Costello’s are close to Zenni’s frame 638821.

Now you’ve got some crazy chops to break it down and find some gone frames in the mix. And that is all that jazz – in eyeglasses.

Monday, April, 14 2014 by

“Frame Friday” Roundup: Coachillin’ with Zenni

You can’t escape Coachella, and Zenni doesn’t want you to have to try. We are getting ready to kick off the 16th year of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, and with it the start of 2014′s festival season. Tell us who you are most excited to see this year, Instagram a picture of yourself at La Coachellita rocking some Zenni glasses for a chance to win a $50 gift card, and get ready to enjoy yourself in style, all thanks to Zenni.

The biggest festival, perhaps in the world, Coachella is also one of the biggest parties, obviously dominated by the huge names performing, as well as the up-and-coming indie sensations that actually make it an artistic event. It has to be to draw sold-out, 160,000-person crowds to what is essentially a poorly disguised desert in Indio, California on back-to-back weekends. But if you’re going, hoping to go, or reflecting back on the last time you went, you already know what it has to offer.

Coachella isn’t just about the music. It’s also a vibe, a state of mind, perhaps most perfectly captured by the streams of photos that appear on Instagram before the fest even begins, featuring scantly clad hipsters braving the heat and celebrities reveling.

You can tell that Coachella has really arrived as not just a giant festival for a range of fans but also a culture-defining force because of all the marketing hype, sponsorships, and attention major fashion brands heap on it every year.

From pre- and after-parties thrown by magazines like Harper’s Bazaar to nearby venues rented out for events by Lacoste to one of the newest additions,  beauty stations on the grounds set up by Sephora for fest-goers to touch up before a selfie, it never stops. How you look in Indio this weekend is a big deal, and the fest is an even bigger deal for how people, hipster or otherwise, will be looking for months to come.

Many brands are trying to get a jump on the hype, blasting out blogs and celebrity e-curated “Coachella must-have” lists including everything a person might wear, use, or do at the fest if they want the image everyone has of them to match the trendsetter they see on the inside.

We do things a little simpler at Zenni. Take these green-to-amber plaid frames, an obvious riff on the ubiquitous horn-rimmed glasses. Wear them to Coachella and your face will certainly stand out. They’re unarguably noticeable. But if you also wear them on Monday as you drag your exhausted self into work, nobody will bat an eye. We can’t say the same for nearly anything else an average ‘chella-goer might wear.

Cocahella isn’t just about the event. It’s also the start of the summer music and art festival season. Zenni is excited to share this all coming musical weekends with our customers. Have fun and don’t forget to check out our summer fest page for a  chance to win a $50 gift card.

Friday, April, 11 2014 by

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