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Cardinals of Yore: Chick Hafey

Happy 108th birthday to Cardinals outfielder Chick Hafey, the first hitter who wore glasses to win a batting title or to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hafey, originally signed by the Cardinals as a pitcher, was moved to briefly and later to the outfield because Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey didn't want his bat to go to waste. He made his major league debut in 1924 and hit .317 for his 13-year career, winning the batting title in a closely contested race in 1931.

He edged Giants slugger Bill Terry and fellow Cardinals hitter Jim Bottomley by a fraction of a point when he got a hit in his last at bat of the season to finish with a .349 average.

Hafey not only wore glasses -- he had SEVERAL pairs of glasses because he said his vision fluctuated from day to day. His eye problems were speculated to be caused, at least in part, by being beaned several times earlier in his career, which damaged Hafey's sinuses.

Hafey played for the Caridnals in their first four World Series -- 1926, 28, 30 and 31 -- but didn't exactly play his best. He hit only .205 in 88 Fall Classic at bats with five runs scored and two RBIs. His best post-season came in 1930 when he doubled five times in six games against the Athletics.

Traded to the Reds in 1932 after a series of salary disputes, Hafey played in the first major league All-Star Game in 1937, collecting the first hit in its history.

He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1971 by the Veterans Committee.

Reggie Jackson became the second bespectacled Hall of Famer when he was enshrined in 1993.

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