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Specs 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.
From an early age, like most children 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.
Born and reared in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, Toporcer never played high school, college or minor league ball. He went directly from sandlot baseball to major league competition.He split his first professional season between the Cardinals and the minor league Syracuse Stars. As he grew older, George Toporczer decided that he wanted to become the best baseball player that he could become. He practiced daily for hours, learning all aspects of baseball and even teaching himself to bat lefty even though he was a natural right-hander. All of the practice he had done had earned him a spot on one of the area’s best semipro teams in 1920. The manager of his semipro team was Billy Swanson, a former second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Swanson helped George Toporczer hone his skills; prior to this George had been almost entirely self-taught. After one year on that semipro team, He signed for the Syracuse Stars just months before it became a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. Branch Rickey, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, transferred George’s contract from the Stars to the Cardinals. Torporcer was to play for the Cardinals as the second baseman, bumping the former second baseman, Roger Hornsby, who had led the league in hitting that year, to left field. Later, because Hornsby was the leading hitter for the entire league, He was moved from second base, so that Hornsby could once again be the second baseman, to become the utility infielder, a position that did not suit him as well as second base. Competing with Hornsby was difficult until Hornsby was traded for another second baseman, Frankie Frisch. Because he was not able to play his favored position, Then he was moved from the Cardinals to Rochester, the Cardinals top farm team.
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).
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
Freddy Schmidt (February 9, 1916 – November 17, 2012) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for three different teams between 1944 and 1947. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Listed at 6 ft 1 in, 185 lb, he batted and threw right-handed.He entered the majors in 1944 with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing for them one year before joining military service during World War II. In his rookie season, Schmidt went 7–3 with a 3.15 earned run average, two shutouts, and five saves to help his team to clinch the National League pennant. He also pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief in Game 3 of the 1944 World Series, won by the Cardinals over the St. Louis Browns in six games.After his discharge, Schmidt rejoined St. Louis in 1946 but he was not the same after that. He divided his playing time with the Cardinals, Phillies and Cubs in 1947, his last major league season.In a three-season career, Schmidt posted a 13–11 record with 98 strikeouts and a 3.75 ERA in 85 appearances, including 15 starts, three complete games, two shutouts, five saves, and 225.1 innings.
John Andrews (born February 9, 1949) is a retired professional baseball player whose career spanned six season, including a part of one in Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Andrews, a pitcher, compiled a major league record of 1–1 with a 4.42 earned run average (ERA) and five strikeouts in 16 games, all in relief.
Andrews made the St. Louis Cardinals’ roster out of spring training in 1973. He made his debut in Major League Baseball on April 8, pitching 11⁄3 innings in relief, giving-up no runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On April 15, in a game against the Chicago Cubs, Andrews picked-up his first loss. He was sent down to the minor leagues on April 26, after pitching seven games in the majors In the minors, Andrews played for the Triple-A Tulsa Oilers and the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. Between the two teams, he went 11–2 with a 3.00 ERA in 26 games, 16 starts. During the season, Andrews made two returns to the majors. First in June and later in August. Andrews pitched his first win on September 3, in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his time in the majors that season, Andrews went 1–1 with a 4.42 ERA and five strikeouts in 16 games, all in relief.
Eddie Solomon (February 9, 1951 – January 12, 1986), nicknamed “Buddy J,” was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1973 to 1982. He played for the Cardinals in 1976 and had a career with a record of 36–42 and a 4.00 ERA with 337 strikeouts.
John Urrea (born February 9, 1955 in Los Angeles, California) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1977 to 1980 and the San Diego Padres in 1981 and put together 17 career wins and 18 losses.