7.14.2009

Mike Brown, 1986 Topps

Name: Mike Brown
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Outfield
Value of card: $10 gift certificate to Sunglass Hut
Key 1985 stat: 98 percent polarized
His glasses are half full: Before he retired from baseball and started a career as a stand-up comic and an actor on "Homicide: Life on the Street," Mike Brown was a sneaky-fast outfielder with a great eye. His eye was so good, in fact, he averaged two walks every three plate appearances, helping propel the Pirates to dozens of victories. This ability to draw a walk led Pirates manager Jim Leyland to instruct him to protect his eyes with sunglasses most human beings couldn't see through. Brown first wore customized Blue Blockers, renamed Brown Blockers for him, which were tested with gamma rays on babies to ensure their protective powers would hold up. Brown wore these a few weeks until an opposing pitcher realized Brown's eye could be neutralized with a well-placed fastball off a lens. Broken glasses and all, Brown was not deterred. He next tried what he called "camouflage eyes," but quickly dispensed of them because he couldn't see out of them and the coils often wrapped together, tripping him when he was rounding first. His next selection was a pair of custom aviators, but a trademark spat with Reggie Jackson doomed this choice. Finally, Brown looked into the future for a pair of glasses that could protect his eyes, thereby protecting his baseball career. He wore these until his retirement, when he took to wearing a trendy pair that made him look like stock-trading schmuck.

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