Card Spotlight: 1952 Topps Howie Judson

From time to time there are players that cross the Major League stage with physical limitations that would ruin almost anyone else’s chances at a big league career. Jim Abbott and Pete Gray both played with only one hand/arm. Whammy Douglas pitched 47 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates with one eye and Tom Sunkel did the same for 220 innings with a handful of teams. The 1952 Topps set features another member of the no-depth perception club with pitcher Howie Judson. He pitched for more than 600 innings across 7 seasons while carrying full sight in only one eye.

Judson was a basketball and baseball star in high school. During one of his games someone in the stands used a slingshot to shoot him in the eye with a staple. Vision in his left eye never recovered and he continually battled to see properly for the rest of his life. Despite this, he was considered an up-and-coming prospect for the Chicago White Sox in the 1940s and was able to have good success in several early outings. His performance lagged later in games, prompting a move to the bullpen where he posted better numbers.

The Sox moved him in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds soon after this card was printed. While Judson’s stats were not overpowering, it may have been the temperament of Frank “Trader” Lane in the Chicago front office that ultimately sent him packing. The text on the back of Judson’s card mentions he is the longest serving current member of the team despite having only played four seasons in Chicago.