Made in the Shade: 136 Years of Baseball Stars Wearing Sunglasses

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Baseball Players and Sunglasses

Baseball Players and Sunglasses - STACK

Paul Hines was a 23-year-old rising star for the Providence Grays in 1878, when he recorded two of Major League Baseball’s keystone firsts: the first unassisted triple play and the first Triple Crown in baseball history.

The right-handed-hitting centerfielder led the National League with a .358 batting average, belted four home runs and knocked in 50 RBIs in 62 games.

Four years later, in 1882, Hines threw some shade on the game, becoming the first player to wear sunglasses on the field.

Historical accounts shed little light on his motive for wearing the sunglasses, but clearly, the sun glare affected Hines in the field. The Baseball Almanac charges Hines with a whopping 27 errors in 82 games at centerfield for the Grays that season.

Hines played 1,658 career games and is credited with 13 “firsts” in Major League Baseball history, but he is not in the Hall of Fame. Some say he got stiffed, because teams in the 1870s played fewer games. Thus, Hines did not accumulate many of the key counting stats apparently required for admittance to the Hall.

Still, Hines was an innovator, and his contributions have inspired the slickest shades and sunglass trends in baseball throughout the years.

Here, we celebrate Hines with a collection of the coolest photos of baseball stars sporting sunglasses.

Ted Williams

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Ted Williams

Ted Williams - STACK

Photo: AP Images

First flip shade? Teddy Ballgame wears his sunglasses tilted up before hitting 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the opening game of the 1947 season.

Willie Mays

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Willie Mays

Willie Mays - STACK

Photo: AP Images

The caption for this AP photo from Sept. 7, 1963 reports, “even with his sunglasses the sun was too bright” and San Francisco Giants CF Willie Mays missed the catch . . .

Willie Mays-Roberto Clemente

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Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente

Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente - STACK

Photo: AP Images

. . . But the Say Hey Kid (left) made plenty of spectacular plays during his Hall of Fame career, like this leaping catch in the 1962 All-Star Game. Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame RF Roberto Clemente takes a home run away from Mays in San Francisco in 1968.

Reggie Jackson

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Reggie Jackson

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Photo: AP Images

New York's Reggie Jackson slides into third base during Game 5 of the 1977 World Series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. October wore corrective lenses—prescription sunglasses, if you will—tinted to dodge the sun's rays.

Pete Rose

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Pete Rose

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Photo: AP Images

Pete Rose cast a shadow on the game when he received a lifetime ban from the sport in 1989 for gambling on baseball and betting on his own team. All shadiness aside, Rose still stands as Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in hits (4,256) and games played (3,562). In this photo, Rose peers through a pair of sunglasses during a spring training game in 1984, his lone season with the Montreal Expos.

Rickey Henderson

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Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson - STACK

Photo: AP Images

Whether you love or hate him, there’s no denying that Rickey Henderson brought a certain style and attitude to the game. His swag rubbed plenty of folks the wrong way. “It’s simply a style thing,” reads a Salon.com profile on Henderson from 2001. “80s retro notwithstanding, the snatch catches, the wraparound sunglasses, his ‘I am the greatest of all time’ speech. . . . He walks the walk.”

In the photo above, Henderson hoists third base on May 2, 1991, after breaking Lou Brock’s all-time record for stolen bases. Henderson finished his career in 2003 with 1,406 stolen bases.

Don Mattingly

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Don Mattingly

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Photo: AP Images

Donny Baseball sports a pair of orange-tinted wraparound sunglasses while stretching before a game against the Seattle Mariners in 1995, the final season for Mattingly, who spent his entire 14-year career with the New York Yankees.

Ken Griffey Jr.

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Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. - STACK

Photo: AP Images

Ken Griffey Jr. was a once-in-a-generation talent who broke into the big leagues at the age of 19. The Kid possessed one of the sweetest swings in baseball, had his own signature Nike cleat, and made wearing a backwards hat cool in the 90s.

With his sunglasses perched atop his baseball cap, Griffey Jr. jokes with his American League teammates at the 1992 All-Star Game in San Diego. The sunglass company Gargoyle created a pair of flip-up shades designed specifically for Griffey Jr., called the F-8.

Manny Ramirez

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Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez - STACK

Photo: AP Images

In one of his hallmark moments with the Boston Red Sox, Ramirez made some noise in 2005, when he appeared in left field at Fenway Park sporting a pair of Oakley Thump mp3 sunglasses. Regardless of his on-field shenanigans, you can’t argue with his track record at the dish: Ramirez belted 555 career home runs and is the Major League leader with 29 career post-season homers.

Gordon Beckham

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Gordon Beckham

Gordon Beckham - STACK

Photo: AP Images

Chicago White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham makes a throw to first during spring training in 2014. Beckham is wearing the new EvoShield Scopes sunglasses, which are treated with a high-contrast tint to make seeing the ball easier, and feature a high-impact shatterproof lenses for enhanced durability.

Visit EvoShield.com to score your pair of Scopes.

This article originally appeared on STACK.com: Made in the Shade: 136 Years of Baseball Stars Wearing Sunglasses

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